Sidwell Friends’ It’s Academic Team Continues to Impress in 57th Season

Emily Fagell ‘21 and Karenna Warden ‘21

Students with a thirst for knowledge and a love for trivia often find “It’s Academic” to be the perfect outlet to broaden their intellectual horizons. 

According to senior Team Captain Rahul Gupta, “It’s Academic” is a “generalized Quiz Bowl club” that attends a wide range of trivia-style tournaments. Gupta added that he and fellow club members – which include seniors Team Captains Nate Freishtat and Peter Devlin and sophomore Quinn Lehrman – “see [themselves] as a broad-based, ‘promoting knowledge about everything’ club.” 

But if the idea of learning and expanding one’s knowledge through thought-provoking games is not enough, one could also be incentivized by the prospect of being on TV. “It’s Academic” has been televised on NBC4 for 57 seasons, and all Sidwell students have the opportunity to join this enriching and exciting club.

Competing as a member of the “It’s Academic” team is not only enjoyable, but also very rewarding, as Sidwell is often widely successful in contests. At their most recent showcase, Sidwell won the match with a total of 615 points. This impressive display indicates a bright future for the team, and its members are currently preparing for their next competition, set to be taped in January.

However, winning is not a guarantee. According to one of the Team Captains, Freishtat, doing well at tournaments “depends on the school against which you’re playing… it’s number one a game of who you get, and two a matter of how hard you prepare and how well you’re able to function as a team.” Teamwork has not been an issue for the “It’s Academic” team. “I think we were able to function very well as a team and therefore were able to triumph in the end,” Freishtat said. 

Although this group seems to have the concept of teamwork mastered, their next match may not be as easy. In January, the “It’s Academic” team will compete against schools that have already won competitions, and thus will “most likely be significantly better” than previous competitors, according to Devlin. 

However, with the motivation and teamwork of the Sidwell group, this next match will no doubt be an exciting one. To prepare for competitions like the upcoming one in January, the “It’s Academic” team holds a weekly practice in addition to their normal Wednesday meeting times. 

“We would take the buzzers… and basically watch video tapes of old ‘It’s Academic’ and Jeopardy competitions and… use it as if we were there,” Freishtat said.

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