Maurice J. McDonough High School returned to the It’s Academic winner’s circle Nov. 30 at the end of the regional competition. This is the second consecutive year the Rams have taken first place in the local competition. The on-stage team was made up of Julie Perriello, a sophomore and team captain, and seniors Jean Hughes and Skylar Belisle. The team scored 280 points to secure the top spot.

As the daughter of Henry E. Lackey High School Principal Kathy Perriello, Julie Perriello has grown up attending It’s Academic competitions. Couple that experience with watching Jeopardy and copious amounts of reading, Perriello has a handle on gathering and remembering facts and bits of trivia. Her team member, Belisle, also takes in new information and files it away. “I really like learning new things about a lot of different subjects,” she said.

Members of the Maurice J. McDonough High School’s It’s Academic team earned first place in the recent regional competition. The team from left is made up of Noah Cusack, Laila Holloway, Skylar Belisle, Julie Perriello, Jayme Byrd-Taft, Ava Rowledge, Jenna Moniz, Aiden Gibney and Christopher Jozwik. Jean Hughes, who was a member of the on-stage team, is not pictured. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

North Point High School placed second with 260 points. The on-stage team consisted of James Olmstead, a senior and the team’s captain; and juniors Jeremiah Seger and Zena Brantuo. Coming in third place was the team from La Plata High School with 220 points. The Warriors on-stage team was captained by William Alcorn, a junior, with sophomores Isaiah DeLeonard and Anne Vazhappilly rounding out the team.

Each year, the county regional winner goes on to compete in a regional match. The McDonough team taped a competition against Sidwell Friends School and South Lakes High School that will air in April on WETA. Hughes was unable to attend the taping due to traveling out of the country. Laila Holloway, a junior and the team’s alternate, stepped in for the taping. As the second-place regional winner, North Point earned a chance to compete in a regional match that will air on WETA next fall.

Representatives from the Greater Waldorf Jaycees presented the McDonough team with a $500 scholarship for its first-place win. Team members include Perriello, Belisle, Hughes, Holloway and other student members as well as Jayme Byrd-Taft, Noah Cusack, Aiden Gibney, Christopher Jozwik, Jenna Moniz and Ava Rowledge. Coaches are Joanna Hobbs and Mary Howard Dempsey.

“They’re all great kids,” Hobbs, McDonough’s school librarian, said. “They study hard.”

As second-place winners, the North Point team received a $250 scholarship from the Jaycees. In addition to Olmstead, Seger and Brantuo, the Eagles team is made up of Addyson Jordan, alternate, Corrine Welsh, William Tomaszewski, Alicia Warren, Erin Cooley, Daniella Ghonda, Noah Strawberry, Julianne Tinana, Adaeze Eluwa, Hilda Sanchez Rivera, Adebola Oluyede, Hooria Umer and Shreeya Chada. Moriah Rochlinski-Evans is the coach. The late Deen Stewart, who passed away in November, also served as a coach.

For participation in the competition, all other high school teams received a $250 scholarship from the Jaycees. Schools compete in the event by selecting three members of their team to participate in the rounds.

Members of the La Plata team include Alcorn, DeLeonard and Vazhappilly, as well as team alternate Christopher Burtch, Brady Keech, Gabriela Almaraz, Qiang Fawls, Sarah Dang, Addison Sheridan, Kya Schoen, Mark White and Kaleb Hubler. Coaches are Matthew Panzarella and Michelle Schoenbauer.

The Henry E. Lackey High School on-stage team includes captain Gabriel Revelle, a senior, Blake Hancock, a senior, and sophomore Rajan Venkatesh. Rounding out the team are alternate Lillian Conine and Bryce Payne. James Hojnowski is the coach.

The team from St. Charles High School includes the on-stage trio of captain Rezaiah Casey, a senior, and juniors Chloe Del Rosario and Anthony Bradshaw. Alternate Elizabeth Holmes, Ara Pitts and Coy Wallace are also on the team for the Spartans. Michael Colatruglio and Matthew Howard are the team coaches.

Thomas Stone High School’s on-stage team is made up of captain Jonathan Rand-Crawford, a senior, Olivia Warren, a senior, and sophomore Kathryn Daniel. Other team members include alternate Charles Gaskins, Isabella Coleman, Juliet Brown, Jillian Daniel, Jordan Loeffler, Camille Saguban and Carliece Wiggins. The team coaches are Melissa Hatch and Renee Hopper.

The on-stage team for Westlake High School includes captain Ashley Rodriguez, a senior, and juniors Adam Alattas and Shania Davis. Other team members for the Wolverines include alternate Ria Garg, Amalachukwu Okoye, Sydney Lewis, Alita Sorrell, Oluebubechi Duru, Margareth Dagamac, Sameeha Agbaje, Jaden Strader and Monty Wheeler. Coaches are Natalie Finch-Howard and Lisa Landrum-May.


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