East LA academic decathletes are competing for more than gold

By Robin Estrin, KCRW

As high schools across Los Angeles send their most scholarly students to the statewide academic decathlon competition in Santa Clara this weekend, one team is motivated by more than just the chance to win.

Eight students at Garfield High School in East LA will be competing in memory of their former math coach, Mike Pacheco, who passed away last month from cancer. He was 48 years old.

KCRW spoke to four Garfield decathletes one week ahead of the state competition. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.