Academic Competitions

Photo of Academic Decathlon winners.
Academic Competitions
Academic competitions are a way for students to pursue their academic passions at a high level and to get recognition for their academic achievements. In addition, academic competitions provide an opportunity for students to surround themselves with other motivated students who share similar interests.

While some competitions cover many school subjects, most competitions have a single focus, such as math, speech and debate or robotics. Some district schools may have already existing programs, but if a school doesn't have a program, students and families may be able to start a program on their campus.

This is a partial list. Additional competitions may be found by searching online or by visiting

Subject/Name Description Grade Level(s) Competition Level(s)

The Gutenberg Award The Gutenberg Award, sponsored by the Graphic Communications Education Association, recognizes exceptional achievement in the field of graphic arts, with awards in three different categories: Print, Web Site and Photography. Middle school, high school  National 
National Young Arts Foundation YoungArts' signature program is an application-based award, in 10 categories, for emerging artists. High school Regional, national
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated.
Middle school, high school Regional, national
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
See Arts section, above.

National Spanish Examinations The exam covers vocabulary, grammar, and reading and listening proficiency. High school Local, national
American Mathematics Competitions Through classroom resources and friendly competition, the MAA AMC program helps America’s educators identify talent and foster a love of mathematics.  Middle school, high school Local, national, international 
Math Prize for Girls The Advantage Testing Foundation Math Prize for Girls is the largest math prize for girls in the world. Each fall at MIT, nearly 300 young female mathematicians compete in our challenging test of mathematical creativity and insight. Middle school, high school National
Mathcounts A national program that provides students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers.
Middle school Local, state, national
Mathematical Olympiads Dedicated to stimulating enthusiasm, fostering creativity, and strengthening intuition in mathematical problem solving.  Elementary, middle school  Local, regional 
ArcGIS Online Competition Esri challenges US students to conduct and share projects about something in their home states. Esri's ArcGIS US School Competition is open to high school ("HS," gr.9-12) and middle school ("MS," gr.4-8) students in the US who can analyze, interpret, and present data via an ArcGIS StoryMap or web app. Middle school, high school  State, national
Broadcom MASTERS  Every year, Society-affiliated fairs across the United States nominate the top 10% of their 6th, 7th, and 8th grade participants to enter this prestigious competition.
Middle school Regional, national, international
California Science & Engineering Fair The CSEF is the middle step between county and national science competitions. Middle school, high school  State
FIRST A series of scientific and robotics competitions, starting with Lego®-based platforms and then moving toward more advanced robotics. Elementary, middle school, high school 
Regional, national, international
Google Code Jam Code Jam is Google's longest running global coding competition, where programmers of all levels put their skills to the test.
High school International
Imagine Cup For nearly two decades, students from around the world have participated in Microsoft’s global technology competition, the Imagine Cup, to bring their unique tech solutions to life.
High school National, international
Kick Start Kick Start is a global online coding competition, consisting of three-hour rounds of a variety of algorithmic challenges designed by Google engineers.
Middle school, high school International
National Robotics Challenge  At the National Robotics Challenge we believe that engineering is not just about taking the same parts as someone else and changing how they are put together.  Engineering is about finding the materials and equipment that is best for the problem you are given.  Elementary, middle school, high school National
Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair Every year, tens of millions of students participate in science fairs around the globe but only about 1,800 earn the right to compete for nearly $5 million awards bestowed each May at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.  High school Regional, state, international
Regeneron Science Talent Search Each year, nearly 1,900 students enter the Regeneron STS, submitting original research in critically important scientific fields of study. Unique among high school competitions, the Regeneron STS focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the most promising scientists among the nation’s high school seniors.
High school seniors  National
San Bernardino County Science & Engineering Fair This science fair accepts winners from district-level science competitions in Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties. Winners go on to the California Science & Engineering Fair. (See above.) Elementary, middle school, high school County, regional
U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO), sponsored by the American Chemical Society, is a chemistry competition for high school students designed to stimulate young people to achieve excellence in chemistry. High school  Local, national
Young Scientist Lab  The annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to submit a 1-2 minute video describing a unique solution to an everyday problem. Ten finalists will be chosen for their passion for science, spirit of innovation and ingenuity, and effective communication skills.
Elementary, middle school  National 

Social Science       
Black History Bee  SBCUSD competition focusing on Black history.  Elementary, middle school, high school 
Latino History Bee  SBCUSD competition focusing on Latino history. 
Elementary, middle school, high school 
National Geography Bee The National Geographic GeoBee is a competition for public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS), that tests students geographic knowledge.
Elementary, middle school Local, state, national 
National Geography Challenge Grade-level competitions sponsored by The National Council on Geographic Education. Elementary, middle school, high school  Local, national
National History Bee & Bowl The National History Bee is a buzzer-based history quiz competition for individual students. The National History Bowl is a buzzer-based history quiz competition for teams of up to 6 students. 
Middle school, high school Regional, state, national
National History Day National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression. By participating, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. Elementary, middle school, high school County, state, national
National Social Studies League Grade-level competitions focusing on United States history, geography and government and world history. Elementary, middle school, high school 
Local, national 
United States Geography Championships The competition aims to reward students who have devoted themselves to studying their world, and its countries and peoples, as a thorough knowledge of geography is essential to being an educated citizen today. Elementary, middle school, high school 
Regional, national, international
Speech and Debate      
Speech and Debate As the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization in the world, the National Speech & Debate Association provides an extensive array of member benefits, including resourcestournament opportunitiesprofessional developmentscholarship opportunitiesexclusive partnerships, and more.
Middle school, high school  County, state, national 
Multiple Subject      
Academic Decathlon The United States Academic Decathlon® is a ten-event scholastic competition for teams of high school students. High school Regional, state, national
Academic Pentathlon United States Academic Pentathlon® is a five-event scholastic competition for middle school students, providing the benefits of Academic Decathlon® along with the challenges of rigorous team and individual competition.
Middle school  Regional, state, national
Mock Trial  Details coming soon! High school  County, state, national

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