“It’s Academic” is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest-running television quiz show. Created in 1961 by television pioneer Sophie Altman, the show pits schools against one another to test students’ knowledge in history, literature, science, math, the Bible, mythology, sports, general information and current events.
Severna Park High School
The It’s Academic program at Severna Park has been successful in recent years, so there was a lot riding on the October 19 competition. The team faced Aberdeen High School and Patterson Mill High School.
With the help of their coach, Theresa Goldberg, and social studies teacher, Tim Dunbar, the team was up to the challenge.
“We had Mr. Dunbar come over because he’s really quick on the buzzer,” said team captain and senior Henry Testerman. “It’s really hard to beat him, and it’s a little bit of fun. He usually beats us up pretty bad about it.”
They met once a week with Goldberg to study, and in the month leading up to the competition, they practiced in front of the television team.
Testerman was joined on the stand by juniors Kelly Smith and Adam Didouchevski. Freshman and alternate Zach McGrath was on the set to cheer the team on.
“We all specialize in something,” said Testerman. “I take history, current events and random knowledge. Kelly is definitely literature and math, and then Adam is geography and sports.”
Testerman, who has been competing since his sophomore year, said the first year competing can be rough, but it all comes with practice.
“It’s Academic” is a team effort, and according to Testerman, the Severna Park squad has no shortage of knowledge.
“I’m by far not the smartest person on the team,” said Testerman. “It’s cool to sit there and listen to the vast amounts of knowledge that comes from our coach and my teammates.”
Broadneck High School
Broadneck competed against South Carroll High School and Mount St. Joseph High School on November 16.
Coached by Eric Bitoude, the team prepared for the competition by practicing from quiz books, watching old episodes of “It’s Academic,” and testing their buzzer skills.
“I think what gave us an issue the past few years were the reflexes on the buzzer,” said Bitoude. “We are more confident with that because that is part of what we have been practicing.”
Senior Jameson Gilkey, junior Jack Collier and sophomore Griffin Bodziak were tested on their knowledge in math, history and English literature. Each team member specializes in one area.
“I consider myself the team history buff,” said team captain Jameson Gilkey. “Math and science have always been, for me, a difficulty, but with Jack here we’ve really stepped up.”
Though the team worried about the literature section, they were confident in their answers during the show.
Gilkey and Collier are veteran scholars, but Bodziak had never competed before.
“Since it was my first year, it is definitely interesting to experience,” said Bodziak. “The first round it was nerve-wracking, but after that, the jitters kind of wore off I felt really confident.
For Gilkey, this could be his last time taking stage alongside the It’s Academic team, but he knows he’s leaving it in capable hands.
“It’s always disappointing leaving a team that you’ve worked with for so long,” said Gilkey. “It’s sad to leave these guys, but I know that they’ve grown so much throughout the time I’ve been here. I have no worries about where they’ll end up.”
The Severna Park competition will air on December 21 and Broadneck’s will air on January 4 at 10:00am on NBC.
If the teams advance, they will move on to the playoffs. The winning team will receive a $3,000 scholarship to split between the three competing teammates.