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Laurel Highlands academic quiz team awaits results of state competition

MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Members of the Laurel Highlands Academic Quiz team include (front row, from left) Max Suchevits, 15, Abby Valek, 18, Elli Monaghan, 18, and Will Ulmer, 18; and (back row) faculty adviser Anita Abbott and captain Dante Lizza, 17.

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Showing their knowledge on subjects from math to music, the students of the Laurel Highlands High School Academic Quiz team proved that they have what it takes with a win in the IU1 competition, making them the champions of Fayette, Washington and Greene counties.

“These are the smartest students in the school,” Laurel Highlands Spanish teacher and quiz team faculty adviser, Anita Abbott, said of her team. “They are a bright bunch, and they did a great job.”

With their win, the team advanced to the state competition and were one of only 22 teams from across the commonwealth who qualified to compete.

“It was an interesting setup,” Abbott said of the state competition. “We played three teams at a time.”

The scoring for the state competition was cumulative, and the school is waiting for the results.

Four members of the academic quiz team competed in Harrisburg, but the team itself is actually made up of 16 students in ninth through 12 grade.

“Many schools just have their gifted students be a part of the quiz team, but we allow everyone here to try if they are interested,” Abbott said, adding that throughout the years, they have had anywhere from only a few to more than 30 try out. “We encourage all our students to try out if they like.”

The team competes at other events throughout the year, traveling to numerous quiz competitions as they test their knowledge against other high school-aged students.

“I tried out for fun,” student Elli Monaghan, 18, said of her three years as a part of the team. “I thought it seemed like a cool thing to do, and I like trivia.”

Team captain Dante Lizza, 17, said that competing is fun and studying for the contests and learning information is the reason that he is involved.

“I've had a lot of fun with this,” Lizza said. “I just really like learning about new things, and this is a fun way to do it.”

The students will keep the traveling trophy for one year and have been awarded $1,100 from National City Bank to assist in paying for the cost to attend the State Championship in Harrisburg.

“We will keep the trophy here and hopefully display it when the renovations are done,” Abbott said. “I'm proud of this group, and I want their trophy out for everyone to see.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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