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For local students, 'It's Academic'

March 01, 1999

It's AcademicBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: courtesy of "It's Academic"




A team of three Boonsboro High School students will make their television debut Saturday on the quiz show, "It's Academic."

Sophomore Ben Keller and seniors Ruth Hook and Tom Tso will appear on channel 13 (WJZ) at 11 a.m. The program was taped in January.

The Boonsboro students competed against teams from John Carroll High School in Belair and Long Reach High School in Columbia. They finished third, according to Keller, the team's captain.

"We didn't do as well in the first round as we would have liked to," he said. "But we did pretty well after that."

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The team's coach, English teacher Steve Lemonakis, said the scores were very competitive. The final score was about 380 to 420, he said. "It was a very tight race."

Last year, Boonsboro's team won the first round of the year-long "It's Academic" tournament but lost in the playoffs, Lemonakis said. The members of last year's team have since graduated.

This year's team had never been on television, which may have affected their performance. "It was sort of frightening for them to be out there," Lemonakis said.

Keller said he visited the Baltimore studio last year, but being on camera was different. "I was kind of nervous at first and I think the rest of the team was, too," he said.

On the show, moderator Mac McGarry asked a variety of trivia questions.

For example, the Boonsboro team got stumped on the Loch Ness Monster's location. They said Ireland, according to Keller.

Asked where Rip Van Winkle slept, they answered correctly: The Catskill Mountains.

About 81 public, private and parochial schools from around the Baltimore metropolitan area compete in the televised tournament, which culminates in June with a Super Bowl-style championship.

Giant Foods, which sponsors the program, awards scholarships to the participating schools.

Boonsboro's academic team has about 15 active members, Lemonakis said. They practice every Tuesday and Thursday. They make up questions, watch tapes and memorize lists of things such as currencies and capitals, Keller said.

Boonsboro is one of several local teams that will compete in the upcoming Washington County academic tournament March 27.

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