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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Blutstein, Sharma, Dorfman bring victory to Quiz Bowl club on PBS ‘It’s Academic’ TV show

Juniors+Jake+Dorfman%2C+Adam+Blutstein+and+Anika+Sharma+competed+in+the+first++Its+Academic+episode+of+the+season%2C+which+aired+on+Oct.+14.
Photo used with permission from WETA
Juniors Jake Dorfman, Adam Blutstein and Anika Sharma competed in the first ‘It’s Academic’ episode of the season, which aired on Oct. 14.

The Quiz Bowl Club is back in competition this fall. This season they’ve competed in local and regional tournaments in addition to the PBS WETA ‘It’s Academic’ quiz show.

Over the past years, the team has participated in ‘It’s Academic’, a local quiz show that airs on PBS WETA. Groups of three students from three different quiz bowl teams around the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area compete in each episode of the show. Junior club leaders Anika Sharma, Jake Dorfman, and Adam Blutstein beat teams from Loudoun County and Sidwell Friends in the first episode of the season, which aired on Oct. 14, to move on to the next round of the competition.

The team is looking to play two to three more tournaments this year, including the upcoming RM Winter Novice tournament in December. Additionally, the team looks to compete in the History Bowl at the end of February and the History Bee, which is an individual competition. The group is already starting to train for History Bowl by having the students interested in competing focus strictly on history-based questions.

In Quiz Bowl, two teams compete to answer questions for points. Each player on the team receives a buzzer to answer questions, and everyone has an equal opportunity to answer. Questions can be about almost any subject, from rotational physics to Dua Lipa, geography to literature.

The club views itself as a team, rather than a club. Some members participate in Quiz Bowl for fun or to meet new people, whereas others are focused on winning local, regional, and even national tournaments. Blutstein, the captain of the team, has his eyes set on winning. “This isn’t the same as Model UN or DECA, where everyone is forced to compete, but that doesn’t mean players shouldn’t look to compete. I want to see more seriousness in (our meetings). We are the fourth or fifth best quiz bowl team in Maryland and the whole point of these meetings is to get better,” Blutstein said.

Still, the majority of students participating in Quiz Bowl are doing so purely for fun. At the end of every meeting, the group does a set of ‘trash’ questions, which are strictly about pop culture. “I want people to know that Quiz Bowl is a lot more approachable than it seems, because while it sounds like it’s just a whole bunch of smart people answering questions that no normal person would know, it’s not. We’re all normal people and if you have any interest whatsoever, it’s probably worth it to come to Quiz Bowl,” Sharma said.

The club is sponsored by world languages teacher Margaret Foeckler, who is in her first year of sponsoring the club alone (she had co-sponsored the club alongside science teacher Brett Bentley prior to this year). During practice games, she will often chime into conversations, providing extra information on certain topics, and broadening the repertoires of the player’s knowledge. “I waited many years to become the sponsor because I love trivia myself. Usually, people don’t just know these isolated pieces of trivia, but these kids know it because they delve more deeply into all. They just end up having very varied interests and I think it makes them smarter and transfers to their studies. That’s why I love it. I think kids are great because they’re very smart and they’re enthusiastic about learning,” Foeckler said.

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Kate Hawley, editor-in-chief
Kate Hawley is an Editor-in-Chief in her fourth year on Common Sense. She enjoys playing soccer, baking, and spending time with friends. She hopes that you enjoy Common Sense as much as she enjoys writing for it.
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