By Kristin Bednarski
What is five factorial? In what country did the Euro replace the Drachma? What is the largest city in Scotland? Who wrote The Canterbury Tales?
Students at schools throughout Clermont County are answering questions like these as they begin their season of competition for academic team this month.
And regardless of what skills students have or what other activities they participate in at school, academic team provides students a chance to learn more and have fun.
“Our kids have a lot of fun,” Nanette Kunz, academic team advisor at Bethel Tate High School, said about the team. “It’s not just kids who would call themselves geeks or nerds, we have wrestlers, we’ve had cheerleaders, it generally runs the gamut.”
Kunz said the team members have fun practicing questions, creating their uniforms, traveling to different schools, and competing.
“I think it is really fun to test random trivia knowledge,” Jacob Havran, a senior at Bethel Tate High School, said about academic team.
Havran said the atmosphere is fun and laid back and he is able to meet and hang out with friends on the team.
“It’s helped me in my schoolwork, and it has helped me get to know underclassmen,” Travis Bee, a Bethel senior, said about academic team.
Bee, who is also on the wrestling team, said people do stereotype academic team as a competition for nerds.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how fun it is,” Travis Bee, a senior, said. “They think it is all study. “I think if more people showed up to meets they would see.”
Academic team covers a range of subjects including American history, math, geography, science, literature, world history and more.
Students answer questions verbally as a team, have written answers to questions, and have buzzer beater questions.
Being prepared, working as a team, and answering questions quickly are crucial for a successful team.
“I like the challenge that it poses,” Colin Evans, a junior at Williamsburg High School, said. “It has made me want to reach out and learn more.”
Kunz said students not only improve by increasing their knowledge of different subject areas, but they also gain other skills.
“I think for a lot of kids it’s an opportunity to be involved in a competition not related to athletics,” Kunz said. “I have seen an amazing transformation in some of my kids who come to me as quiet and shy, and really become leaders in the school because of their involvement in academic team.”
Gloria Cummins, the academic team advisor at Williamsburg High School, agreed that for many students, academic team builds their self esteem and gives them an opportunity to shine.
She said academic team also allows them to expand their knowledge.
“I think it broadens their horizons,” Cummins said. “They realize there is so much more information out there that they are not exposed to.”
Most of the high schools in Clermont County have an academic team. Teams normally begin practicing in the fall or winter and begin matches in January.