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From Classroom to Competitions: What is Academic Quiz Team?

Seniors Elliot Henn, Brady Harman, Max Westermeyer, Aric Schauer, and Trevor Lindgren compete in a match in the Learning Commons at Kings High School. Coach Nancy Galster congratulates them after their win. Photo Credit: Shannon Lindgren

There is one question left. Two teams of players sit at the edge of their seats in the Learning Commons, thumbs hovering over buzzers, focus written on their faces. The score is close. Whoever gets this last question right wins. 

It’s obvious that some kind of competition is going on here, but what kind of activity would create a scene like this?

The answer is Academic Quiz Team (or AQT, for short). You may have seen the team walking around school dressed in red cardigans and bow ties on Wednesdays (match day). Technically a sport, players on the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams study various topics such as History, Fine Arts, and Science and then use their academic knowledge to compete in matches against other schools in the ECC. Multiple players described Quiz Team as “Team Jeopardy” – collaborative but also competitive.

Although matches can get intense, the team keeps things light during training in Galster and Goldie’s classrooms. They create fun team names during practice games and laugh off mistakes while snacking on chips and Rice Krispie Treats.

“You guys work hard [at school] all day,” said science teacher Nancy Galster, who coaches the varsity team. “We have to let off some steam… so having a little fun, laughing, having silly little names for the teams, doing all that stuff just gives us a chance to breathe and relax.”

Some new team members are even starting a new way to have fun while studying.

“There’s a couple of boys on JV that every time I go in they’re tossing a ball while they’re playing,” remarked Galster.

Coaching the JV team is math teacher Tracy Goldie. Although this is her second year coaching with Galster, she previously coached the Junior High team when she started teaching at Kings. She likes how working with the JV team helps her connect with and get to know students she doesn’t have in class.

“I’ve never met a person on the team that wasn’t nice to be around…I like that it’s kind of a quainter group because then you really get to know players,” Goldie said.

It’s not just about bonding and learning. Even if players know the answer, they must be bold enough to buzz in and answer quickly during matches. Goldie focuses on building these strengths because the JV team is made up of freshmen and sophomores who are still new to the sport.

“They’re just growing their confidence,” she commented. “Not necessarily academics or trivia, but more just themselves.”

There’s no doubt that the strongest players on the team this year are the five seniors. Strong in an array of different topics, they often carry the team to victory in tough matches. 

One of those seniors, Aric Schauer, noted that, “We’ve kind of grown pretty close over the years, and it’s cool to see us grow up over time and get better. With quiz team…you can clearly see yourself get better and score more points and answer more questions…so that’s pretty cool.”

Brady Harman, another senior, said “It’s really helped me develop study skills. It’s pretty much just like studying for any subject but a lot more random information, and it helped me have a passion for learning new things.”

It is indeed immensely hard to study for Academic Quiz Team. With such a wide range of topics, questions can be on pretty much anything. That’s why, although everyone tries to cover a bit of everything, many have specific areas of strength they are particularly good at. 

“Sometimes you have these all-around students who you want in every part of the match,” explained Galster. “[But] students can [also] have one area that they’re really good in, and that might be just their area. So they’re always going to be needed… even if you’re not an all-around student you can still find your niche and have your place on the team.”

Come out to support the Academic Quiz Team and see what it’s all about! Kings has their last home game against Turpin on Wednesday, February 21 at 3:30 in the Learning Commons. That night is senior night, so come show your support!

Want to keep up with Quiz Team’s standings? Check them out here.

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About the Contributor
Mallory Green
Having loved writing her whole life, Mallory is so excited to be on The Knight Times staff her junior year! She joined Journalism to share her passion for writing and be a part of storytelling at Kings. When she’s not in school, she loves obsessing over music by obscure artists, playing the piano and violin, reading, and hanging out with her sister and cats. Mallory also enjoys learning German and recently got to use her knowledge of the language on a trip to Europe. After high school, she is thinking about going to college for something writing-related.
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    Nancy GalsterFeb 28, 2024 at 9:27 am

    Thank you, Mallory. This article really provides a great picture of what AQT is all about!