Bret Harte High School junior Gurlovellen Kaur earned a silver medal in the Speech Honors competition at the California Academic Decathlon state championship held in March.

“Lovellen started working on this speech back in early October,” said co-coach Jennifer Truman in a press release. “This is her third year as an ACADEC competitor, and she knew what she had to do and get it done early.”

Decathletes are allowed to do a speech on any topic that is not associated with the theme, which for this year was Africa. Kaur chose to do her speech on the persistence of intolerance of race in America and how she and her family have personally been affected.

“Her speech was more than just a personal story,” Truman said. “She tied her personal experiences to that of reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Fredrick Douglas in English to the struggles of the Civil Rights movement led my Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to her personal hope and dream that America can be a more inclusive nation and get beyond the hate.”

Kaur delivered her speech to the judges on March 24 at Inderkum High School, the same day millions of young adults made their voices heard in the “March for Our Lives” events that were seen across the nation, including Sacramento. The irony wasn’t lost on Kaur.

“As we drove from the Convention Center to Inderkum, we saw the demonstrators gathering outside the state capital, and Lovellen did make a comment about how her speech had a connection to why everyone was gathering there,” Truman said.

Kaur was joined on the medal stand by Bret Harte High senior Emily Buss, who earned a medal for the most points earned from her team.

“Emily is also a three-year veteran and has added a lot to our success over the years,” said Truman. “Unfortunately, we will lose her talents next year as she will be graduating and heading off to college. She’s waiting to hear from Harvard! And if not Boston, she will for sure be heading to Portland.”

This is the second year in a row Bret Harte has made an appearance at the ACADEC state competition. To earn their competition spot at state, Bret Harte had to beat Mountain Oaks and Summerville High schools.

Each school is allowed to bring a nine-member team, three for each level of competition. Competing for Bret Harte were:

• Honors: Senior Emily Buss, junior Gurlovellen Kaur and junior Ellie Tafjen

• Scholastic: Senior Kellie Krpan, senior Sierra Stephens and junior Daisy Solis

• Varsity: Senior Claudia Loomis, senior Raen Kuykendall and junior Brianna Tyre

The Academic Decathlon is a ten-event scholastic competition during which students test their knowledge in social social science, science, math, music, economics, literature, art, essay, speech and interview.