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Diana Belchase

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Gaithersburg’s QOHS Crushes McLean (PHOTO)


It's Academic

Bishop Ireton on the Left, McLean in the Middle, and Quince Orchard on the right on Jan 30, 2016.


Gaithersburg sometimes finds it hard to compete with the hoopla of nearby communities. You know the kind — laden with so many over-achievers, they make good and great seem like barely passing.

This is often true of McLean, Virginia.

Filled with posh homes and one of the top high schools in the nation, parents are desperate to live in McLean in order to send their child to that wonderful high school. Under McLean’s notable alumni on its Wikipedia post are the former CEO of Time magazine, correspondents for ABC and CNN, Olympians, judges, and the daughter of former U.S. Vice President  Dick Cheney. The list seems almost endless. The same category on the Quince Orchard Wikipedia post lists only eight names — 2 rappers, an actor, 4 athletes and a Miss World beauty pageant contestant for Indonesia. Unfortunately, I hadn’t heard of any of them.

So, when the Quince Orchard High School academic team of Gaithersburg, Maryland soundly trounced McLean, I had to stand up and cheer. Don’t get me wrong, Quince Orchard, along with all the schools in Montgomery County are excellent. They just don’t have the resources of private schools like Bishop Ireton (the other competitor) or wealthy top schools like McLean.

The match took place on a local TV game show called It’s Academic on Washington, D.C.’s NBC4. Similar to Quiz Bowl, three teams of high school students vie against one another to answer questions in subjects such as Science, Art, Mathematics, History, and Current Events.

It’s Academic is HARD. I used to do College Bowl and the questions on the show are as intense as its collegiate cousin. Further, I had to do this in front of other students, not on television with all my friends and teachers watching.


It's Academic

(L) Logan Feingold, (C) Natalie Rubin, (R) Tanay Wakhare

But back to the competition. Wearing matching jackets and ties, Quince Orchard team members Logan Feingold and Tanay Wakhare, along with team captain Natalie Rubin, all looked dapper and ready to play.

And play they did.

Questions whizzed by at the speed of light and Nat Rubin’s finger was nearly always first to answer the buzzer. But, trigger skills are not the same as academic moxy, as many a defeated team has found out. Quince Orchard had that rare combination of being first on the buzzer while simultaneously on top of an astounding and wide-ranging display of scholastic knowledge. In fact, I believe they only missed one question the entire night.

Not to say that the other teams didn’t do well. In fact, Bishop Ireton, a private school in Arlington, came in at a very respectable 330 points, only ten points behind McLean’s score of 340. Both are certainly good scores. Quince Orchard blew them both away with a final score of 555 incredible points. This isn’t just a winning score, it is the kind of score that surpasses 90% of the teams playing. It means, our Quince Orchard Gaithersburg kids are the cream of the crop!

I’m really proud of these kids and hope they see the congratulations I offer here. If they do, I hope they’ll leave a comment or email and let me know. Kudos to their coach, Mr. Joshua Schuman. It takes a great coach to make a great team, and he must have put in a ton of hours to get theme in such wonderful shape.

I want to congratulate the McLean and Bishop Ireton teams as well. These kids also get up early for practice sessions, stay late at school to study reference materials. Either team would have had a great chance of winning the competition if not for Quince Orchard’s extraordinary performance.

Often, it is said that it takes heart to be a champion. While that’s true, it’s not all of the truth. It takes heart to give up other activities, T.V., chill time, and friends, to put your butt in the chair and do the work necessary to be a champ. Nat, Logan and Tanay are undoubtedly smart — but that isn’t enough. They had a great coach, but that isn’t enough, either. What they had was the guts to take on Goliaths and the will to study hard enough to send McLean’s giant tumbling.

I know these three will be augmenting the Quince Orchard notable alumni list very soon.

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About Diana Belchase

Golden Heart winner, and triple Daphne du Maurier finalist, Diana Belchase lives in Montgomery County just outside of Washington, D.C. Diana loves to travel and puts the places she’s visited into her books. Her current novels are set in Hong Kong, New York, Washington, DC, Paris, and that most exotic of all locales … the Maryland Ag Reserve. Join Diana at On My Mind for a look into life in Maryland as well as print and video interviews with bestselling and upcoming authors. Remember, Diana would like to know what's on your mind, too! She can be reached through her personal website at www.DianaBelchase.com..


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