Love trivia? See how UHS’s Academic Team is persisting during online school


Stephanie Potisk

The switch to virtual school has dramatically changed how extracurricular activities are run. With no school sports and limited ability to have group meetings, many students are unable to participate in the activities they once did. However, despite these challenges, the UHS Academic Team is persisting with practices and meets. 

Academic Team is a great activity for anyone who loves trivia or enjoys sharing their knowledge on topics they are passionate about. In regular years, the team meets after school every Tuesday and Thursday in Mr. Hayes’ classroom to practice buzzing in and answering questions. Throughout the season, the team works hard to hone their knowledge and to learn to collaborate in order to answer difficult questions. Starting in January, team members get to show off their skills in the Frederick County Academic Tournaments every Friday evening. Teams from different schools face off to answer the most questions correctly to become the champions. 

“I absolutely love trivia,” says Brina Ratangee, a senior. “Academic Team provides an outlet for me to partake in something I love with like-minded people.”

“What I enjoy most about the Academic Team is the bonding and socialization with the other members of the team,” says Luis Jovel Lainez, a junior. 

Although this year’s plans for the tournaments have not been revealed yet, UHS’s Academic Team members have already begun practicing. Like during a regular year, the team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, only via Google Meet instead of in-person. This year’s team is making the best of this difficult situation and still having a lot of fun in the process. 

“I hope that we are able to have competitions in person this year and that we are able to make it to the finals again,” says Trevor Weakly, a senior. 

UHS’s Academic Team has made it to the final round in many years past. Last year, Walkersville won the season, but Urbana stayed in the running up until the very end. Team members are anxious to see if this could be the year that Urbana takes home the championship despite the unusual circumstances. The team is also looking forward to participating in “It’s Academic!”, a televised quiz show that allows teams of high school students to show off their knowledge. The show would typically be filmed in person and broadcasted on CBS Baltimore, but this year the show has also decided to go virtual. 

“I hope that we’ll be able to strengthen our knowledge foundation for next year, especially if there is no county tournament this year,” says Brina. “I’m glad to see we have some new recruits.”

The team coaches, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Coleman, and Ms. Tarrant-Coleman, are also feeling hopeful about this year’s success. 

“We’re a smaller team, we graduated some really strong people, but we also have really strong people coming up to take their place,” says Mr. Hayes. “It’s with enthusiasm but with a lot of uncertainty, and we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”

Mr. Hayes also likened the excitement and energy felt at the tournaments to that of a big sporting event and hopes that the team will get their chance to shine this year. 

“When it comes down to the last few questions and it’s really tight, it’s exciting in a way that I never thought something like Academic Team would be,” he says. 

Although practices have already started, if Academic Team sounds like an activity you would enjoy, please reach out to any of the coaches for information on joining meets. Whether you’re book smart or just know a ton about one topic in particular, we could use your expertise! Hope to see you there!