MERRILLVILLE | Ancient Greece’s culture, history and heritage challenged students from 14 Lake County high schools during Tuesday’s 27th annual Indiana Academic Super Bowl Senior Division competition at Merrillville High School.
The Glory That Was Greece was sponsored by the Indiana Association of School Principals and Purdue University at 21 host sites throughout the state and drew about 5,200 students from 288 high schools.
“This is preparation for the state competition. Ten to 12 schools in every class will be invited to Purdue University in West Lafayette for that competition on May 4,” said Janelle Bowen, academic competitions coordinator at Merrillville High School.
Schools are divided into four classes based on enrollment.
Schools are divided into classes based on enrollment. The Class 1 schools competing this year were Crown Point High School, Lake Central High School, Lew Wallace STEM Academy, Lowell High School, Merrillville High School, Munster High School and Gary's West Side Leadership Academy.
Class 2 schools included Griffith High School and four Hammond schools: Gavit High School, George Rogers Clark, Hammond High School and Morton High School.
Andrean High School competed alone in the Class 3 category, and Gary's Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy was the sole Class 4 category.
Contestants competed in six categories: English, science, fine arts, social studies, math and interdisciplinary, which included questions from the five other categories.
Jessica Zarik, 18, competed in the English portion of the Academic Super Bowl for the third and final year.
“We delve the most information (by concentrating in one specific area). In the English category, we had to study Homer and Sophocles, Greek tragedy and drama,” she said.
Three first-year participants from West Side Leadership Academy tackled the math competition: Isaiah Sistrunk, 16, Nekea Anthony, 15, and Roger Presswood, 16.
“The Greeks used math in building temples, in weights, music. We’re solving problems the way Greeks did,” Sistrunk said.
Patrick O’Neill, a chemistry teacher at Munster High School, coached this year’s Academic Super Bowl team and said the recommended readings to prepare were college-level books.
"The pressure is intense,” O’Neill said. “These are kids who are not used to getting marked wrong. You see the real steel in the kids.”