|Tatiana Pavloff '13, Max Rosenwasser '13 and Peter Suwondo '12 with Academic Challenge host Jason Nicholas.|
Western Reserve Academy’s It’s Academic team competed on May 5 on the Academic Challenge television show on Channel 5 in Cleveland.
WRA came in first in the competition against Oberlin High School and Rootstown High School, with a total of 535 points. The team of Peter Suwondo ’12, Max Rosenwasser ’13 and Tatiana Pavloff ’13 was advised by Dr. Lisabeth Robinson, a history teacher at WRA.
“It was fun, and our first experience as a group being on the show. It was a new experience being in the studio,” Rosenwasser said. His teammate Pavloff agreed, adding that, “It was very nerve-racking. Instead of there being only four or five people watching, there were a lot more, and there were point deductions, which we’re not used to in a normal competition.”
Suwondo added, “The match was so fast-paced that it seemed to be over almost as soon as it started.”
To prepare for the competition, the students reviewed trivia from past competitions and “watched YouTube videos of old Academic Challenge rounds to learn the format,” Rosenwasser said. They also had to practice with a buzzer, as they weren’t used to that from standard competitions throughout the year.
“We had Mr. Vince, the school archivist, come and talk to us because he’s an avid watcher of the show,” Pavloff said.
The preparation paid off, because when asked if they struggled with any questions, both Pavloff and Rosenwasser agreed that they knew all of the questions, but they lost points during the free-for-all round because it was a matter of who buzzed in first.
Rosenwasser said that the main issue was confidence. Suwondo said that, “Our team knew many of the answers, but Rootstown frequently beat us to the buzzer.”
When asked about the win, Suwondo said “We were ecstatic about the win. There were several moments in that final round when we thought it had slipped beyond our reach.”
Suwondo, Rosenwasser and Pavloff agreed they would do it all again if they could, with an enthusiastic “Definitely!” from Rosenwasser.
Rosenwasser proceeded to invite students to participate in the team, saying “Anyone who watched the show and wants to join, come out for the team.”
Suwondo, the only senior on the team, will be attending Yale University in the fall, most likely to pursue a degree related to the field of biology.
According to the program’s website, Academic Challenge has been on the air since 1964. Each week, three teams compete against each other, answering questions about math, science, history, current events, and literature.
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