And the answer is: It’s Academic!

Amidst a cheering live audience and hot studio lights, the AHS It’s Academic! team displayed their knowledge of trivia in a nerve-wracking competition against DC schools Gonzaga and School Without Walls on Jan. 8 at the taping of the It’s Academic! game show, held at the NBC 4 studio in Washington, D.C.

Junior Robert Truong and seniors Scott Fulton and Kidist Ketema represented the AHS team on-air, supported by team sponsors and social studies teachers Meghan Saladino and Kathlyn Berry, Assistant Principal Vincent Randazzo, and Principal John Ponton.

The It’s Academic! competition, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, holds a Guinness World Record for longest-running quiz show, and has a history that spans back to 1961. The show pits three high-school teams from around the DC, Baltimore and Central Virginia regions against each other for a five round contest of trivia knowledge. The questions offered on the show boast a wide variety of content, and can vary from scholarly topics like math or English literature to topical pop culture or sports questions. The team that wins that day’s competition goes on to compete in the It’s Academic! Super Bowl held later in the year.

All three teams start with 100 points at the beginning of the competition, and strive to accumulate points as the show progresses. Questions are either toss-ups, which go to the team that buzzes first, or team-directed, which are presented in a set to a single team. In general, teams are awarded ten points for correct answers and penalized ten points for incorrect replies, unless the question is established as more valuable. Visual questions, which center around an image shown to the teams, are usually worth thirty points, the highest value on the show.

For seniors Scott Fulton and Kidist Ketema, appearing on the show is nothing new. Both are seasoned It’s Academic! veterans who have represented the AHS team for the last three years.

“I’ve been on the show twice before, and I enjoy the competition,” Fulton said. “My dad encouraged me to go into It’s Academic! because I was good at Jeopardy, and I wanted to get into a club. I plan on continuing trivia in college because I want to go on Jeopardy, so doing It’s Academic! is a good way to practice.”

Junior Robert Truong, who appeared on the show for the first time on Saturday, showed more apprehension.

“It was nerve-wracking, because I was afraid I was going to humiliate myself somehow,” he said. “A lot of the questions were easier than I expected, though, so that comforted me after we got through the first and second rounds.

The three team members competed with impressive ability, quickly emerging as a dominant team. Throughout the competition they raced neck-in-neck with Gonzaga, who also displayed extensive trivia knowledge.

Though AHS will lose Fulton and Ketema next year when the two go to college, the future looks promising for the It’s Academic! team. The large number of strong underclassmen players waiting in the wings ensures that the team will have exciting seasons in the years to come.

The It’s Academic! show featuring AHS will air Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m..