Competitive in the classroom


The It’s Academic team poses for a picture after the Liberty District Tournament.

The school sponsors many athletic teams during the course of a school year, including popular sports like football and basketball. However, the school also sponsors other non-athletic academic teams, such as Model United Nations and It’s Academic. These clubs compete against rival teams from around the county and from other parts of the state.

Senior Jack Horton is a founding member of the school’s Mu-Alpha-Theta (MAT) chapter, an academic team that competes in mathematics competitions. He and fellow senior Jaya Kambhampaty created the club when they realized that there was no chapter of the national MAT organization at the school. “There was no math club of any type,” Horton said. “We wanted to provide students with an opportunity to do math outside of school.”

Another popular academic team is the Model United Nations (MUN) club. Junior Annie Zetkulic is currently the secretary-general of the club, which is sponsored by English teacher Mr. Keith Klein. “The secretary-general is like the president of the club,” Zetkulic said. “It involves planning meetings, working with Mr. Klein and other officers and leading the preparation for our big conference in the spring.”

The MUN club goes to conferences about once a month, where members debate issues ranging from world health to world wars. Some committees deal with historical topics like the Vietnam War or fictional topics like Game of Thrones.

“My main goal is to get people to join the club,” Zetkulic said. “The style of debate is easy to pick up, and I hope people join so they can experience it for themselves.”

Meetings are held each Thursday in Mr. Klein’s room, room 2222.

The school also sponsors It’s Academic, a team whose members participate in general knowledge competitions against other Northern Virginia schools. The format of It’s Academic competitions means that the team needs members who are knowledgeable in a wide array of fields, even those which might not be studied in school. “We have a good environment at practices,” junior vice-captain Miles Hahn said. “It’s fun, so even though some of the questions are school-related, people should still come.”

Some of the team’s competitions, which take place every few months, are televised on the local NBC channel. “My goal for this year is to make VHSL regionals and win a televised competition,” Hahn said.

These academic teams are growing in numbers and in successes. What drives them is the focus on both education and collaboration as a team. “My favorite part of MUN is getting to learn about current topics and events we don’t learn about in school,” Zetkulic said. “It’s a great way to learn about the world we live in, and to meet new people.”