Hopkins West Junior High students Ezana Tedla, Solomon Midwinter, Holly Den Hartog, Henry Scheible, and Adam Rothman crave knowledge. They are lifelong learners who get a thrill out of showing off how much they know. The fivesome recently traveled to Chicago to participate in the 2017 American Junior National Academic Championship.
In order to get an invite to the national championship, the team won the QuizNet wild card match last year. They then won the next two matches in the tournament and qualified for the championship. Along with coach and gifted and talented teacher Regina Johnson, the team traveled to Chicago June 10-12.
Johnson said the first three matches were wins, despite a slow start. The first match Hopkins won 290-185, during which Johnson said Adam Rothman really stepped up his game and carried through the next two. The final round, which required students to “Stump the Experts,” saw a significant win for Hopkins. Holly Den Hartog and Ezana Tedla pushed the team over the edge to win 390-140. But it was in the bonus match where Hopkins really pushed to beat their competitors 360-315.
“The last match was against a 5-0 team, and it was so close,” Johnson said. “We were tied going into the last round, and Henry (Scheible) and Holly (Den Hartog) gave us great answers to put us ahead by 20 on the very last question.”
In the quarterfinals, Johnson said Scheible hit his stride and answered all bonus round toss-up questions correctly. The team made it to the semi-final round where they faced Next Generation School from Illinois. The team, Next Gen A, outmatched Hopkins 500-245, and would eventually go on to win the championship title.
“They’re a strong team,” Johnson said, “and everyone had great moments."