Clear Spring team wins mind game

April 08, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

What is the next number in this sequence - 1, 8, 27, 64, 125?


How about an easier one?

Who is the senior U.S. senator from West Virginia known for bringing home the bacon?

If you know the answer to both of those questions, you might have done well Saturday in the 7th annual Academic Team Championship at South Hagerstown High School.

Nine teams of Washington County high school students matched wits in history, literature, science, current events and math. The top teams won scholarship money for their schools.


"It gives the kids that are really strong in academics (a chance) to show us," said Donna Chesno, coordinator of advanced programs for Washington County schools.

"I think it's great." said Tracy Wolford of Hancock whose son, Zachary, was on the team from Washington County Technical High School. "I wish there were more opportunities for kids who are intellectually minded."

In the competitions, teams of three students from three high schools buzzed in to answer questions during each round. Points were awarded for correct answers, and the top scoring team in the preliminary round moved on to the championship round.

Each high school in Washington High School sent one team to the competition. Clear Spring High School sent two teams so there would be enough teams to have three compete in each of the preliminary rounds, Chesno said.

One of the Clear Spring teams took first place Saturday, winning $2,500 in scholarship money for the school.

Second place, and $1,500, went to South High.

Third place, and $1,000, went to North High.

The team from Williamsport High School brought back $500 in scholarship money as the top scoring nonfinalist.

The scholarship money for first, second and third places was donated by Hagerstown Trust. The Hagerstown Community College Foundation donated the money for the top scoring nonfinalist.

Ronald Cline, a math teacher at Clear Spring High School whose son, Brad, was on one of the two Clear Spring academic teams, said the event supports the idea that academics are important.

"It's fun to see how much you know compared to everyone else," said Aaron Michael, 18, a senior who was on the South High team.

Cline said some students spend long hours practicing for the contest. But South High student and team member Justin Warner said it's hard to prepare for the contest because the question topics are so varied.

"I just play Trivial Pursuit and keep up on current events," Warner said.

Michael, who competed in the contest last year, said the questions are all tough but that last year's questions were easy compared to the questions Saturday.

"The math questions were insane," Warner said.

The sequence question above was one of several difficult math questions, but here's a hint: Think cubed, as in 1 cubed is 1 X 1 X 1.

The numbers 1, 8, 27, 64, and 125, are 1 cubed, 2 cubed, 3, cubed, 4 cubed and 5 cubed. So the following number is 6 cubed, or 216.

And the senator known for bringing home the bacon?

Robert Byrd.

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