by JANHAVI CHAFEKAR, special to 92128 Magazine

Buzzing In to Win

There were three seconds on the clock, and RB High was two points down against Westview. The independent moderator asked the members of both teams to “name the art period characterized by seashells.” Senior Bryan Ugaz buzzed in and correctly answered “Rococo,” which won the game.

“I think one of my best memories is that match we played against Westview last year,” Ugaz said. “I got the last question against Westview correct at the last minute, and we got to go to Championships because of that.”

During an Academic League match, questions are posed by an independent moderator, and students can buzz in to answer the question. The types of questions asked are broken up into two categories: toss-ups and bonus. Toss-up questions are worth three points and are open for members on both teams to answer, but they can only be answered by whoever buzzes in first. If that player answers correctly, his or her team is awarded three points and a bonus question where they have the chance to win between zero and five points. If they answer incorrectly, the opposing team is given a chance to answer the same question for the same number of points. For the varsity team, this pattern continues for 35 minutes, and the team with the most points wins.

While the team practices together once a week with its advisor and history teacher Susan Michelena, much of their preparation comes from independent reading. Team member Omar El Sabrout added that unlike Quiz Bowl, another jeopardy-style competition, Academic League is more detail-oriented. “Quiz Bowl is more oriented in knowing deep knowledge, and it rewards players who know more about a subject,” El Sabrout said. “In Academic League, there’s only one clue, and you have to answer questions that typically require little knowledge but wide breadth.”

This season was the first time the members of the current team beat one of their toughest competitors, Torrey Pines High School. “It was absolutely exhilarating,” Ugaz said. When asked what it takes to be on the Academic League team, Ugaz, who also competes in both Quiz Bowl and Academic League games, said that students should enjoy learning and accumulating knowledge in their free time. “As long as you have some interest in learning something outside of school, Academic League can be a good fit for you.”


JANHAVI CHAFEKAR is a senior at Rancho Bernardo High School. She is participating in an internship program with 92128 Magazine.