Academic WorldQuest Crushes Competition

Academic+WorldQuest+wins+first+place+in+Massachusetts.+%28Source%3A+Rachel+Skerritt%29+

Academic WorldQuest wins first place in Massachusetts. (Source: Rachel Skerritt)

By Halima Mohamed (III), Staff Writer

On April 17, the Boston Latin School Academic WorldQuest (BLSAWQ) team took 23rd place out of 105 teams competing at the national competition.

Coming off their first-place win at the regional championship in March, team members Aidan Osowiecki (II), Carrie Wang (I), Ourania Parastatidis (II) and Sylvia Posever (I) were able to win a banner and prize money for BLS.

The Academic WorldQuest championship is a trivia-style team competition that tests students’ knowledge of current world affairs. Typically, regionals are held at a chosen institution in Massachusetts and nationals are held in Washington, D.C. To safely hold tournaments amidst the pandemic, however, both the regional and national championships were held virtually this year.

The BLSAWQ club prepared by studying topics given in advance from the association that hosts these competitions, the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire. The club split these topics among themselves for further research, and club members built presentations around their assigned topic to present to their teammates.

Although the team was successful in their competitions, members noted that technical difficulties, particularly during the regional competition, did create some added stress. Another online challenge that accompanied the club was virtual recruitment. In the end, however, they were able to put together a solid team.

Team captain Sylvia Posever says, “In person, you get to sit with your teammates, huddled around this little circular table, and you get to answer questions and it’s really fun. In the past, Mr. Gavin [would] bring us doughnuts, and it was an overall great experience. But online, there have definitely been some challenges.”

Despite the virtual format, members still enjoy the connections they have made through the AWQ club. Because the competition is only open to high schoolers, Andrew Yu (VI) was unable to participate in the tournament this year. Yet, he still felt welcomed by the environment the club created.

Yu explains, “Since everyone else is in high school, I could really reach out to them. During meetings, we wouldn’t just be studying. We also have time to talk, and they assisted me in adjusting.”

Students also appreciated that the competition allowed them to look past the information from the news with which they are typically surrounded. Instead, they learned about relevant diplomatic relations or cultural events that they otherwise would not have known.

Students also took a step back from the competitive aspect of the competition and took time to better understand the topics in the real world by listening to a guest speaker talk about their nonprofit organization. AWQ puts emphasis on being a global citizen, not just a citizen of a single nation.

Club advisor Mr. Daniel Gavin adds, “This team enjoyed every minute of preparation and competition — not only because they loved the material they were studying, but also because they loved working with each other.”