Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 8:58 pm

Clubs: It's Academic

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 4
Place: Room 247
Sponsor: David Fantegrossi, James Schafer
President: Cody Burton
What is the atomic mass of an atom with 28 protons, 28 electrons and 34 neutrons? The members of Blair's "It's Academic!" team aren't scrambling for their chemistry textbooks to answer this question; they're racing to buzz in their answers during one of their many practice rounds (the answer is 62, by the way).

About 15 students attend these meetings, during which members gather around five or six buzzers and answer rapid-fire questions from a broad range of subjects. "It's mostly English and history, with some science, math, sports and pop culture questions," says sponsor David Fantegrossi, a math teacher.

About once a month, the team enters a major tournament, usually held at an area MCPS high school. In a typical tournament like the Knowledge Masters Open, five preliminary rounds narrow the field to the top eight teams, who then compete in single elimination rounds until one team wins. Blair's team consistently ends up in the final rounds, says Fantegrossi. "We are the top scoring team in Maryland often, but not always," he says. "We haven't always been number one. We get in the top four a lot."

It doesn't take an It's Academic champion to know that practice makes perfect so the It's Academic team spends their weekly meetings reading and answering questions. This week, junior Elizabeth So is poised anxiously over her buzzer, softly exclaiming "No!" as Fantegrossi, who occasionally plays during practice rounds, buzzes in a split second before her to answer a question. Senior Cody Burton, club president, has a quick strategy talk with So before the next question.

Fantegrossi is unsure of the club's origin, but it has gone through a sequence of sponsors before he took over. The team members are evenly spread over all four grades, but they are mainly from the magnet program.

Though the difficult questions range from the Bible to Broadway to basketball, the members of Blair's It's Academic team know it all.

If interested in joining It's Academic, contact David Fantegrossi or James Schafer.

Club beat by Kiera Zitelman