A team of HBA high school students participated in the televised quiz show, It’s Academic, in early January.

This is the second year that HBA has taken part in the show. The team, consisting of seniors Michael Burton and Ansleigh Seaver, and junior Alecia Griffin were given only a short time to practice for the show. Junior Megan Horita and sophomores Jantzen Nakai and Isabel Weimken, were part of the team as alternates. Chemistry teacher and team coach Michael Hu said, “We started very late after the Christmas break and the show was in the middle of January so we clearly didn’t do much practicing. If we knew there was a competition, I would start the practicing much earlier.”

To prepare for the quiz show, the students met with retired HBA teacher and coach Maurine King and Hu. Sophomore Jantzen Nakai said, “We had lots and lots of flashcards on [random] facts, and we met like three or four times, for two hours at a time and we got tested about these [random] facts.”

The students were recruited to the team by the coaches. Hu said, “We asked at all-school homeroom for interested students to talk to Ms. King or me.  I personally asked the members of the team to join because I knew they were quick and possessed a well-rounded knowledge base.” The coaches were also looking for availability, speed and confidence, according to Hu and King.

[one_third]King said, “It’s not just [about] being smart, it’s [about] being assertive. That’s what kind of kids we are looking for. ”[/one_third]

It’s Academic is a quiz show that is open to public and private schools across Hawaii. It has been in Hawaii for three years. Students are tested on different subjects, ranging from science to spelling. King said, “It’s a variety, sometimes they will give you something so simple: three words, which of these is first or last alphabetically. Or they will give you what starts out to sound like a history question with some dates and it ends up as a math question.” The show is divided into two rounds, a team questions round and a buzzer round.

HBA began participating in the quiz show when King heard about it a few years ago. King says, “I first became aware of it a couple of years ago and told Mrs. Hirae we should do this and I’m willing to help prep the kids to do it. So we inquired and then when it was announced that it would be on again, we sent in our applications. It was open to 27 schools, public and private, first come first serve.”

Looking back on this past season, Hu said, “I think the three alternates, Megan, Jantzen and Isabel, learned a lot by watching the competition and the show. Hopefully, they will be in front of the cameras next year representing HBA.”

To be in next year’s team, students can volunteer themselves. King said, “It’s not just [about] being smart, it’s [about] being assertive. That’s what kind of kids we are looking for. If you’re the kind of kid that often has your hand in the air, you know the answer, you think fast, you would be a good candidate.” She also added that availability is essential. “This year I said, ‘No Mock Trial,’ because it’s right in the middle of the season, and the trouble is, super smart kids have many activities going on so I keep saying, ‘Getting four smart kids together has been like herding cats’. One’s gone on a trip, one’s got sports, one’s doing something else.”

In addition to starting their training earlier than they did this year, that coaches plan to help the team become familiar with the game format. “We need more practice with the buzzer,” King said, “and Mr. Frontiera and Mr. Hu are in the process of buying us a real, professional rate buzzer system to practice with. We need faster reactions.”

It’s Academic is the oldest running TV quiz show in the country and the Hawaii franchise is in its the third season. It will be airing in March on Mondays and re-telecast on Sundays on KFVE. Last year’s season, including the May 13 episode showing HBA’s 2013 team, can be streamed on KFVE’s website.