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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell It’s Academic Team Earns Second Place in Televised Competition

Sidwell students place second out of three teams in the televised It’s Academic trivia show. Photo: Sidwell Friends.

On Sept. 23, the Sidwell Friends “It’s Academic” Team earned second place in a trivia competition against two other schools, Loudoun County High School and Thomas S. Wootton High School. The competition aired on Oct. 14th, at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on WETA. 

“It’s Academic” is a high school quiz show that started in 1961 in Washington. It is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest-running TV quiz show, with sixty-two seasons and eight Emmy awards. 

Students at private, public and charter high schools from the Washington area are featured on the show to test their academic knowledge. 

This year, freshman Louis Merriam, junior Daniel Schwartz and senior Laia Sarukhan represented Sidwell in the game show.

Each episode has four rounds. Round 1, “Fast Start,” is a buzzer round with individual team questions based around a central theme. 

Round 2, “Mix and Match,” asks each team questions about various subjects ranging from History problems to an occasional math one.. 

Round 3, “Picture Perfect,” is a buzzer round where questions include a visual aid — such as historical or mathematical images.  

Round 4, “Packet Round,” asks each team individual questions, which are slightly longer, giving a 25-point bonus if the team answers all are correct. 

Round 5, “Grab Bag,” is a buzzer round where penalties are given for incorrect answers but more points are awarded for correct ones. 

Sidwell took second place with a final score of 400 points, trailing 95 points behind the first-place winner, Wootton, and 35 points ahead of third place, Loudoun County with 365 points. 

Laura Jordan, Sidwell Upper School History teacher and “Its Academic” coach, remarked on Sidwell’s performance: “I was pleased with the team’s performance on the show. They fought hard for all the points they got and were up against some very challenging competition.”

Jordan believes the team will continue to improve throughout the year.

“I think the team’s improvement will come with time; we only had two weeks to practice before the television taping — our taping was the first of the season,” said Jordan. “With more experience with the buzzers, I know the team will continue to get better and better.” 

Schwartz enjoyed the experience overall. “It was a very cool experience to go on TV and compete in trivia, which I really enjoy,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz also explained that being able to share the stage with other members from the Sidwell community across different grade levels was enjoyable.

According to sophomore Coco Campbell, the team is an inspiration to the Sidwell Community — especially Merriam. 

“It was a great way to get freshmen interested in extracurricular activities and clubs since they were able to see freshman Louis Merriam participate in the competition,” explained Campbell. 

“Participating in various competitions with other schools in the area is one thing, but doing it on national television in front of a live audience is something that is vastly different and displays their intellect in an impressive way.”

Sidwell’s “Its Academic” Club meets every Wednesday to practice and sharpen their trivia and general knowledge. 

They will return next year to compete again on television.

Jordan is very confident that with a little more practice, Sidwell has a significant chance of winning future “Its Academic” challenges.

“I can’t wait to see their growth as they become more adept to the format and types of questions,” said Jordan.

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Maira Zaidi '27
Maira Zaidi '27, Opinion Editor
Maira Zaidi is currently an Opinion Editor for Horizon. Prior to this, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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