TRAVERSE CITY — Four local high school students will represent northern Michigan for the first time in the national Academic WorldQuest competition.
Traverse City West Senior High School seniors Joshua Garver, Nick Murphy and Seth Perrin, and junior Jimmy Seekamp beat high school teams from Traverse City Central, Elk Rapids, Mancelona, Forest Area, Grand Traverse Academy and Interlochen Arts Academy to snag a spot in the national competition this weekend.
The Academic WorldQuest is held annually by the World Affairs Councils of America, a nonprofit organization that works to educate and engage Americans on global issues. About 40 teams from high schools across the country will be testing their knowledge on international issues Saturday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Garver said his team gathered about once a week to study since the 10 categories they’ll be quizzed on were announced in the fall. This year’s topics range from general knowledge on geography and current events to specific facts about global environmental issues and cybersecurity.
“We’re all kind of nervous because we know we’re going to be facing some good teams who have probably done this before,” Garver said. “We divided up the studying instead of all of us studying everything. It’s a divide and conquer strategy.”
Students have to answer 10 questions from each category. They’ll have one minute per question to put their heads together and come up with an answer.
West Senior High School world history teacher Dan Rosenburg advises the team. He said watching the qualifying round at Northwestern Michigan College in March was like watching a three-hour test play out on stage.
“It was fun as an audience member to play along and answer and see how you do compared to the team,” Rosenburg said. “The winning team definitely beat me. But I wasn’t preparing for it like they were.”