It’s Academic in the semifinals of the NBC TV show
March 13, 2017
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Lights, cameras, questions. The pressure is on. Students, staff, family, are all tuning in to see the Saxons compete at It’s Academic. The high pressure, Jeopardy like competition, where intelligent students compete against each other. Earlier this month, the Saxons were eliminated from the VHSL playoffs at the Regional competition, however they are still competing at the TV show.
The game is similar to the well-known game show, Jeopardy. The game is featured as a question answer and has three teams of three competing against each other. These teams are from Virginia schools competing in the VHSL. “Doing the show is really fun because you get to go to the NBC Studio and watch them set it up for TV and everything,” said Nikhil Rao. The show done at NBC has won 8 Emmy awards and has had a total of 55 seasons. “My favorite thing about It’s Academic is that it’s self-reinforcing. What you learn in school helps you with the game, because the questions are based off curriculum,” said Craig Anderson.
Another part of the game is teamwork. The three different students are all well studied in one specific subject like science, math, literature, and history. That means the team expects players who study specific subjects to perform competitively.
The competition is highly competitive and players must prepare before. “I hop on the web and surf specific sub-sections of history that Mr. Kissling feels I need to iron out. I sometimes branch out to literature if needed. Studying involves a lot of time on trivia sites like Protobowl, or just clicking through relevant Wikipedia pages,” said junior Craig Anderson.
“By far the hardest thing about It’s Academic is that the knowledge is only half the game. The other half is being able to infer the answer within a few words so you can buzz as rapidly as possible. You can know the answer to every question, but you won’t have a chance unless you can buzz speedily. We’ve lost games to teams who didn’t necessarily know more than we did, but they were way better buzzers,” said Surya Ambardar.
The game, sponsored by Giant, has had prominent figures on the show like Sandra Bullock and prominent Redskins players. “It’s Academic is designed to bring the kind of attention often reserved for student athletes to the arena of academic achievement…and it works! Every year hundreds of secondary schools—public, private, parochial, charter, urban, suburban, rural–compete on the program. Audiences arrive at TV studios ready to root for their teams—with cheerleaders, banners and bands,” said creator of the game, Sophie Altman.
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