by Iqra Choudhry

Stuart’s ‘It’s Academic’ club won first place at their quiz bowl on October 17 for the first time in 15 years, and contestants are now preparing for their second round.

It’s Academic is a TV quiz show in which students from different schools in the Mid-Atlantic area compete against each other to answer trivia questions.

Players are read questions and try to score points for their team by buzzing in first and responding with the correct answer. The students are asked two main types of questions, tossups and general questions directed towards individual teams. There are also opportunities to earn bonuses and the questions range from a wide variety of topics and subjects.

This year was the 55th season of It’s Academic and the 1st place winners of our district were our very own Stuart students. Junior Marianna Karagiannis and seniors Christopher Karagiannis and Ahkar Phyo secured a win for Stuart after 15 years.

“It was pretty exhilarating to win, but I’m still kind of in shock. It was a really close game. It took us a couple seconds to actually understand that we had won, and let it sink in,” said Marianna Karagiannis.

The team competed against DeMatha Catholic High School and Osbourn Park High School. After winning, Stuart qualified to take part in the second round. The show was taped at NBC4 Studios in Washington, D.C. and will be aired on NBC4 on December 12, 2015. This win is surely an important one and has become a part of Stuart’s history.

“This win has put our school back on the map as a competitive school in our bracket along with getting our team some much needed recognition at Stuart,” said It’s Academic’s team coach and sponsor Haile Russom. “New member interest has been an issue, but since our win at NBC, we have had many students show up to our practices seeking to join.”

Some changes were made this year which allowed the team to secure a win. These included more meeting days and an organized schedule. The team changed their practice from once a week to twice a week, allowing students to practice as much as possible and prepare for the competition. In addition, they set a minimum requirement for the number of days students attended practice, in order to be eligible to compete in matches and scrimmages.

Another issue that was resolved this year, was having a proper format of questions to practice with.

“To rectify this situation, I watched and studied as many past tapings as I could find and came up with question banks and picture slides that I could then use to practice the proper format with students, and even hold a mock It’s Academic match the week of our taping,” Russom explained.

The playoff dates are yet to be decided, but the competitors are working hard to prepare for them.

“Currently we are scheduled to compete in the High School Scholastic Bowl Conference at Edison on January 9 and we are actively scrimmaging other schools, whilst at the same time having students brush up on the Scholastic Bowl format and their subjects of specialty,” added Russom. “With all the hard work that we have been putting in this year, we really are confident in our chances of placing and awarding.”

It’s Academic’s 1st place win after 15 years, has brought great joy and pride to the Raider community.

“Stuart has a pretty bad reputation, and we all joke about how we always lose. It feels really good to prove to everyone that Stuart is actually a good school with a lot of successful people, and hopefully it will help change people’s attitudes about us.” Karagiannis said. “To me, this win really proves that the work is worth it, and it tells me that we are just as good as other schools.”

courtesy photo