Fairview High School Academic Team has all the right answers for students

FHS Academic Team

(L-R): Some members of the Fairview High School Academic Team: Sam Allen, senior, Matthew Warchol, junior, Joseph Wasco, junior, science teacher Andy Bruening, and Shawn Tetreault, junior.

January 11, 2022


Question: Name a local student group that competes by showcasing knowledge in a variety of subject areas. Answer: What is the Fairview High School Academic Team?

This long-standing student group at Fairview High School is having a strong year, led by a dedicated core of mostly junior students and by science teacher, Andy Breuning. The team gathers each Tuesday at lunch in Bruening’s room for questions and training, as they compete with other schools for local academic trivia supremacy.

“It’s basically just trivia,” Shawn Tetreault, a junior on the team explained. “We answer trivia questions. We’ll have practices on Tuesdays during L1 and L2 and then we go to competitions Tuesdays after school, and then we have the one at Baldwin-Wallace.”

Fairview’s team competes Tuesdays after school in February against local schools, along with a dedicated competition against other schools in the Great Lakes Conference. No competitions were held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the last time these juniors competed was during their freshman year.

“We have a fairly respectable team this year,” Bruening explained. “We’re winning more this year than we were as freshmen, for sure. The last competition we had was the very first time we won more matches than we lost in a Tuesday afternoon.”

Each competition is broken down into three rounds. The first round is a question and answer round, based on categories.

“The categories are things like American History, American Literature, World Geography, Life Science, Physical Science, Math,” Bruening explained. “One team gets to go first in a category, they get a question. Team B then gets a question. And then there’s a toss-up.”

The second round of competition features questions with answers that start with all of the same letter. For example, each answer in this category might start with the letter “C.” The final round of competition is the “lightning round” where students must quickly buzz in with their answers. The challenge for Fairview’s team is the lack of updated equipment to help students learn how to quickly answer in time.

“It’s just like you are on Jeopardy,” Bruening said. “We know as much as other teams, it’s just knowing how to use the buzzer system. We can’t really practice with our buzzer system, so we don’t really have that skill of knowing when to buzz in.”

In February, the team will compete against other schools in the Great Lakes Conference in a competition held at Baldwin-Wallace University. The winner of that competition will be represented on the “Academic Challenge” TV show on WEWS Channel 5. The last time Fairview High School competed on the show was in 2012.

“It’s fun to compete,” Joseph Wasco, junior, explained. “It’s fun to be able to know so many things, it just makes you feel good about yourself.”

“I like to see what I know, and then learn new things, possibly,” junior Matthew Warscholl added.

“It’s a weird skillset,” Bruening expressed. “More often than not, it’s not about who knows as much. It’s about who knows as much as they can quickly. And when you watch those people on Jeopardy, that’s exactly what it is.”

Any student at Fairview High School can join the Academic Team. The team meets each Tuesday during the L1 and L2 periods, and the cost is only $20. For more information, contact Andy Bruening at [email protected].

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