A competitive sport of an academic nature keeps a team of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students engaged year-round. Participating in It’s Academic, four members of the ACHS Scholastic Bowl Team–Virginia Arnold, Sabine Mead, Paul Ostermann-Healey, and Parker Treichel (alternate)–were victorious in the first round of the high school competition that aired on NBC4 on Jan. 22.
The win over Quince Orchard High School and Bowie High School in Maryland advances the ACHS team to the next round of play. “It’s a big deal; this puts the ACHS team in the top third of all teams,” said Matthew Zahn, team coach and AP Literature and Credit Recovery teacher. He says the winning strategy in playing goes beyond knowing the information, to include identifying clues and doing it faster than the opposing teams.
The ACHS team practices three days a week during the Lunch and Learn block. Zahn believes the team serves as a landing spot for a lot of kids who are great students but do not necessarily know where they fit. “As they play more on the Quiz Bowl team, they really get a sense of belonging/confidence that the things they know do matter,” explains Zahn. The experience helps these students realize the importance of becoming good teammates.
The ACHS Scholastic Bowl team finished their Fall season undefeated (8-0-1) with an average margin of victory of 139 points to qualify for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) National Tournament in Atlanta, GA, on Memorial Day weekend. Zahn says that he and the team enjoy the time they spend preparing for and competing in tournaments, adding that every year, “we really do not want it to end.”