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It's academic

The Academic Challenge Team at AHS is set to compete in a TV quiz show against 20 other schools from S. Oregon
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From left, Kelsey Cronin, Gray Lunn, Jaidyanne Podsobinski, Scott Gordon and Michael Skidmore practice with their Academic Challenge Team Tuesday at Ashland High School. Jamie Lusch / Daily TidingsJamie Lusch
 Posted: 2:00 AM January 31, 2013

The Ashland High School Academic Challenge Team competes in a televised academic quiz show against 20 other Southern Oregon high school teams to earn scholarship funds.

On Wednesday night, the team was set to be drilled in science, mathematics, history, literature, the arts and sports during a timed competition against Grants Pass in front of a studio audience at KOBI Channel 5 in Medford.

The competition will air at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 on Channel 5.

About this series

High school may be different than it was when you were enrolled. If you ask some of the students participating in Ashland High School's various clubs, they may even tell you that it's a lot more interesting. Here's a look at one club. Send suggestions to

The first- and second-place teams win thousands of dollars in scholarship money that is divided among the members. Last year, the AHS team won second place, losing narrowly to St. Mary's School in Medford.

Membership on the team is by audition, where AHS social studies and English instructors Paul R. Huard and Rick Cornelius gauge prospective members' accuracy in response to questions and speed on the buzzer.

Once a team buzzes in, a member has five seconds to respond. If he or she answers incorrectly, the question is then posed to the other team. After 25 minutes of competition, the team with the most points wins the round.

Team members Michael Skidmore, Kelsey Cronin, Scott Gordon, Gray Lund and Jaidyanne Podsobinski practice once a week during lunchtime in Huard's classroom in the Humanities Building. Huard drills them with questions from past tournaments held across the nation.

"Each one of our members is a team player, with skills and knowledge that complement the other, as well as a genuine desire to cooperate with his or her teammates and help each other," says Huard, the club's adviser. "They are as smart as a whip, but they check their egos in at the door. Everyone is pulling on the same oar for the same reason."

Here are some sample questions, as supplied by Huard:

Q: This six-letter word beginning with the letter "s" is the tough, fibrous connective tissue covering the surface of the eye except the cornea.

A: The sclera.

Q: In this opera, the consul Sharpless urges U.S. Navy Lt. Pinkerton to return to his American fiancée and abandon his lover Cio-Cio San. Cio-Cio San then kills herself in which Giacomo Puccini opera set in Japan whose title suggests a married lepidopteran?

A: "Madame Butterfly" or "Madama Butterfly."

Q: The discriminant 4 a cubed plus 27 b squared determines whether the Weierstrass equation y squared equals x cubed plus ax plus b represents this kind of curve. The points of one defined over a finite field form an abelian group used in cryptography. Identify these curves that result from inverting a similarly named integral for the arc length of a conic section with eccentricity between 0 and 1.

A: An elliptic curve.

Q: It did not apply to villages in the Kaskaskies and St. Vincents, allowing for the continuation there of French property law. It was followed by a war with Blue Jacket and Little Turtle, though its third article demanded good faith with the Indians. It was based on a proposal by Thomas Jefferson and allowed three to five new states to be settled. Name this 1787 ordinance that led to the creation of Ohio.

A: The Northwest Ordinance.

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