Academic team wins televised competition


The announcer on It’s Academic! talks with contestants Ana Beain, Nick Henninger, and Adam Kuester. The Academic Team won their first competition on Sept 17.

Grace Kim, Online Chief

Senior Heather Kirwan bit her lip in anxiety and crumpled the “Go JC!” sign in her hands as she waited for the show to start. She knew that her boyfriend and captain of The Academic Team senior, Nick Henninger, had a lot on his shoulders. He had to be responsible for leading the team’s answers and he was competing in a trivia game that was described by team member senior Adam Kuester as an “anything goes” kind of competition.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, Henninger, Kuester, and senior Ana Beain of The Academic Team travelled to the WBAL station to record the first round of the competition. They played against teams representing C. Milton Wright and Annapolis High.

The Academic Team competitions run for approximately 30 minutes. There are five rounds in a competition, each differing in both content and question presentation. Contestants are sometimes given visuals on a monitor and a question to correspond with it. Other times, the announcer reads questions.  Whoever rings in first on the buzzer will get to answer. The questions in this past competition ranged from asking about an unusual flavor of ice cream in Japan to what George Washington’s first job was.

In the first three rounds, JC was not in the lead. However, in the bonus point round in which teams could earn up to 25 points if they answered all of their questions correctly, JC took the lead and held it until the end where they finished with a final score of 555 points. C. Milton finished with 485 and Annapolis with 480.

“After we won the 25 bonus points for answering all of our eight questions correctly in the fourth round, I felt that we definitely had a chance to come out with a victory,” Henninger said.

Members of the band as well as the JV cheerleading squad came to the competition. They performed in between rounds of the game. Parents also came to watch their children compete. “We had a ‘home field’ advantage because we had so many people supporting us…20 cheerleaders, the band, and the principal,” It’s Academic! coach and social studies teacher Bob Schick said.

To prepare for this competition, the team “…used buzzers to practice and trivia books and flash cards [used] to help prepare for the ACT.”

“[Additionally], the biggest difference between us this year and last year was that we were quicker on the trigger,” Schick said.

According to Schick, the team practiced after school every day since the beginning of the school year, knowing that the taping of the competition would be in September versus last year’s date in January.

“We’re very proud to have represented JC so well today. It’s a great feeling because all of our hard work paid off,” Henninger said. 

Schick is unclear as to when the match will be aired, but it is estimated that it will be broadcasted sometime between January and March.

Grace Kim is the Online Chief for The Patriot and