Academic Challenge team returns to the spotlight at Valley Forge High School
March 23, 2020
by Gabrielle Lutzo
Valley Forge High School
Academic Challenge has made a triumphant return to Valley Forge High School.
After years of silence, the students and teachers are ready to be known for their outstanding academics and intelligence once again.
The club was canceled four years ago when Parma City School District made difficult budget cuts. However, this school year, Academic Challenge has been renewed at Valley Forge, thanks to the elimination of pay to participate for extracurricular activities throughout the district.
Academic Challenge is a club where students answer questions against other teams to challenge their academic and pop culture knowledge.
The goal is to compete on the Academic Challenge television show for high-schoolers, which airs locally on WEWS-TV, Channel 5. Teams of students go up against other high school teams on the show answering questions from a variety of subject areas.
Timothy Vojta and Monica Simanella, both history teachers at the school, are the advisers for the club and are looking forward to working with students.
“I am so excited to have the Academic Challenge back at Valley Forge,” Simanella expressed. “It gives academically strong students opportunities to showcase their knowledge and allows them to put another extracurricular on applications to colleges.”
“Unfortunately, as a district, we don’t have as many programs for our academic standouts as we should,” Vojta shared. “Fortunately, the Academic Challenge teams were brought back for this school year. I’m hoping that someday the other programs, like Model United Nations and school newspapers, will find their way back to us.”
“I think having the club return to Valley Forge is really good for the school,” Simanella added. “As for many high schools, so much of the focus is on sports and academics generally gets lost.”
About 40 students have already shown interest in competing and the group is meeting regularly to prepare for competition.
To prepare, students make teams within the club and answer practice questions against each other asked by the advisers.
“We have informal quiz sessions the day before each contest to get students used to ringing in on the computerized buzzer system,” Vojta described.
A team of three students will be appearing on the Academic Challenge television program in early March, with a possible air date about a month or so later.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Valley Forge High School Academic Challenge team returned to competition this year on the long-running WEWS television show.