SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — High Schools students often have the opportunity to join clubs based on athletics, foreign languages, music and performing arts. Unfortunately, many high schools lack clubs based on academics. Lakeside High School fills the void with the Academic Challenge team.
The 11 members of Lakeside’s Academic Challenge are captain Michael Beardsley, Kristen Berus, Corinne Schoren, Felicia Leonard, Bree Leonard, Tony Schoren, Emily Simpson, Garret Bacon, Trevor Bartone, Kaytee Spencer and Patrick Garrod. The team’s starting three are Beardsley, Berus and Schoren.
The team competes against high schools all across Ohio in a battle of brains. During competitions, Lakeside’s team must answer trivia questions concerning math, science, history and pop culture faster than the opposing team.
Bree Leonard and Emily Simpson said they love Academic Challenge because they can interact with other people who think the same way they do. The Academic Challenge season lasts from September through March. Lakeside’s team, which is advised by social studies teacher Edwin Gallatin, participates in five or six competitions each season. The team practices after school four times a week. The practices last about an hour a day, where the students set up teams and compete with each other using a database of official questions.
The students have had a successful season so far. In December, Lakeside placed eighth out of 56 area high schools in a tournament at Case Western Reserve University. The contest was a pop culture tournament, all of the questions having to do with popular culture and media. Corinne Schoren placed 12th individually.
Gallatin noted that having students with diverse interests helps the team tremendously. Each starter has a subject in which he specializes. Beardsley is the math and science guy; Berus focuses on history and Corinne Schoren is great with English and literature.
“It was a very good competition… very competitive,” Beardsley said. “Several notable schools were in attendance.”
Gallatin is excited about the team’s upcoming competitions. On Feb. 10, there will be a taped competition, aired on Channel 5 WEWS, against Copley High School and Kent Roosevelt High School. On Feb. 27, the students will participate in the Quiz Bowl, a county-wide competition that takes place in Andover. The team will compete against nine other county schools. The team is looking forward to going head-to-head with other local schools, including Grand Valley, Edgewood and Jefferson.
“Because of the well-roundedness and commitment of our team, my expectations are high this season,” Gallatin said.
Looking to next year, Gallatin is already preparing for the departure of seniors Beardsley, Berus and Bree Leonard. He has been encouraging underclassmen to come out to the team, and the upperclassmen of the team have been aiding.
“I’m trying to bring underclassmen through so that we’ll have an equally strong group after the seniors and juniors of this year leave,” said Gallatin.
“I hope that we can attract newcomers,” said Schoren, “not just from the incoming freshmen, but from the entire school so that we can build the team for upcoming years.”