It’s Academic Fights to the Finish at Regional Competition

On March 5, Erin Chapman (’11), Gaston Lopez (‘13), and Alyssa Parks (’13) found
themselves in a place that few teenagers will ever venture: in front of television cameras in a
brightly lit studio. The trio, dressed smartly for their foray onto the small screen, represented
North Point at the prestigious It’s Academic quiz show, which is in the midst of its 50th season,
going head to head against two other schools from the D.C. area: Quince Orchard High School
and Thomas S. Wooton High School. The team put forth a solid effort, finishing within two
points of victory, but was ultimately defeated by its competition.

“If they have invented a word that combines ‘nervous’ and ‘excited’, that can perfectly
sum up the experience. You’re already feeling it even before you take your seat on the set,” said
Lopez of his experience.

The program is taped in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C., adjacent to the
set of Meet the Press, the famous Sunday political show. It’s Academic has the distinction of
being the longest running show of its kind on television. The game is played in five rounds
and features questions from a number of subject matters, from chemistry and math to history
and art. A team’s success hinges on its ability to make out the question and answer it correctly
with the most speed. Always present is an air of possibility. “Even though I had been on the
set competing at my third time by this playoff game, I still felt that ‘what’s going to happen?’
feeling,” Lopez recounted.

In the run up to the competition, the team practiced every Tuesday for the entirety of
NEST, going over question and after question until they were adequately prepared. They were
supervised by coaches Ms. Stewart and Ms. DeVeny.

Prior to this recent appearance, the team took second place at the county wide
competition earlier this year, coming within two questions of victory. Despite the loss, the team
and its sponsors look forward to the future ahead of them. “The 2008-2009 Season on the county
level got us a place for being on the NBC show by next school year. Last school year, we went
as far as the show only taking 2nd place. This school year, we made it to playoffs!” said Lopez.
As Chapman, team captain, related, the 2011-2012 school year holds the hope of taking the team
farther than they have ever gone. In the meantime, some team members will join forces with
Skills-USA to compete at the Quiz Bowl, where North Point took a national title last year.

North Point’s appearance on It’s Academic will air on NBC4 on April 2.