Two clubs, In The Know and Junior State of America, make their mark at UAHS
by oliviaMILTNER, ’13
In The Know
In The Know is a group in which students compete in academic trivia tournaments. Unlike most clubs, In The Know has a “varsity” team that consists of four students who participate at the competitions. This year, the team is likely to be seniors Cormac Bloomfield, Ben Kompa, Tom Paulson and Tao Quan. Paulson became involved when he was recommended for the group his junior year.
“Some subjects [In The Know] draws on [are] math, European history, U.S. history, biology [and] chemistry. It’s like [the TV game show] Jeopardy, but school related. Most of the questions on In The Know you have heard at one point in class,” Paulson said.
Because of this, certain classes give students an advantage by giving them better knowledge of the topics focused on in In The Know.
“In The Know loves to ask detail-oriented questions, which history allows easily. AP European History and AP American Studies are arguably the most valued courses,” Paulson said.
According to Paulson, at a tournament, a question is read, and once a student believes he or she knows the correct answer they can buzz in. If they are wrong, the opposing team has the opportunity to answer the question. If a team gets far enough [in the tournament], their competition will be broadcast on TV. Last year UA’ s team made a strong showing, advancing far into competition and winning $6,000.
“[The] sweet 16 rounds and beyond [are] on TV [out of] 64 teams. We finished fourth in the last one,” Paulson said.
But appearing on TV is not the only reason why Paulson is on the team. He encourages others with interests similar to his to consider joining.
“I’m just a fan of trivia. I’m a fan of answering questions that are hard,” Paulson said. “I just want to have fun… You should join if you love knowledge [if] you love trivia.”
Junior State of America
Junior State of America is a new club at UAHS. Started by junior Minjia Tang, the group focuses on debating current events and political issues.
Each year JSA clubs, or Chapters, compete in events known as ‘Conventions,’ which are held at both regional and national levels. There, students discuss and debate different topics in American government and society.
Possible topics for debate are revealed one month before the convention. They can include social issues ranging from gay marriage to the legalization of marijuana or the burning of the American flag. The conventions occur throughout the year and vary in size as well as location.
“Sometimes you’ll have smaller conventions that one school will start on their own, and then it’s at that school or some university… but the three main ones are usually overnight,” Tang said. “[They are] two-day events, so you stay at the hotel and [the debates are held at] a nearby government building.”
Fall State and Spring State, two of the three large conventions associated with JSA, are in Cincinnati for schools located in the Ohio River Valley, which includes UAHS. Here, students listen to or participate in debates. However, Winter Congress, which is held in Washington D.C., is set up differently than the other conventions.
According to Tang, instead of debates, students mimic the actual federal government and vote on proposed bills.
“At Winter Congress… people are split into two large groups representing the House and the Senate. We then vote on our own bills that we had written. The bills are approved by both the ‘House’ and ‘Senate’ and then passed,” Tang said.
JSA meets every Tuesday in room 211 and is open to anyone.
“People who are already interested in current events [should join],” Tang said. “[But for] people who don’t know much about current events… this is an easy way and welcome place to get information. People who like to debate—and sometimes yell—are welcome too.”