McDonough team earns first place at local It’s Academic event, advances to regional competition

McDonough team earns first place at local It’s Academic event, advances to regional competition

The It’s Academic team from Maurice J. McDonough High School earned the top spot in this year’s local event held Dec. 8 at North Point High School. The team of captain Samuel Chernoff, Nicholas Long and Julie Perriello scored 350 points to earn first place. This is the first time in 15 years that the It’s Academic team from McDonough has earned first place at the county level.

Coming in second place was the team from La Plata High School with 300 points followed by North Point High School in third place with 210 points.

As the county winner, the McDonough team will compete against Montgomery Blair and Osbourn Park high schools in a regional match set to air on Feb. 26, 2022, on NBC4. The La Plata team will compete in a regional televised match next fall.

Additional students on the McDonough team include Jason Haley (alternate), Skylar Belisle, Jean Hughes, Rebecca White and Brianna Zust. Coaches of the team are Joanna Hobbs and Mary Howard. As first-place winners, the team receives a $500 scholarship from the Greater Waldorf Jaycees.

All other competing teams receive a $250 scholarship from the Jaycees.

The second-place team includes captain Aastha Patel, William Alcorn and Eric Valentine. Completing the La Plata It’s Academic team are students Emma Vanden Berg (alternate), Michelle Ameyaw, Aubrey Alexander, Isaiah DeLeonard, Mason Hine, Brady Keech, Anne Vazhappilly and Ashlyn Young. Coaches of the team include Michelle Schoenbauer and John Holmes.

North Point’s team includes captain James Olmstead, Ishaan Chada and Kelsey Njembu. Completing the North Point It’s Academic team are students Liliana Gordon (alternate), Sophia Carpentier, Landon Garrity, Kelsey Garrity, Amauri Hampton, Sydney Lewis, Blythe McCammon, Kaitlyn Sanchez, Nehemiah Strawberry and Yusra Umer. Team coaches include Deen Stewart and Moriah Rochlinski-Evans.

Competing at the county event for Henry E. Lackey High School was captain Gabriel Revelle, Blake Hancock and Morgan Martin. Completing the Lackey team are students Cora Murphy (alternate), Jayden Lockley, Bryant Melendres and John Woodworth. Coach of the team is James Hojnowski.

The competing team from Thomas Stone High School included captain Eryn Huber, Lacey Kyte and Faith Meadows. Additional students on the Stone team include Emma Truby (alternate) and Kathryn Daniel. Coach of the team is Nancy Jeffrey.

Representing St. Charles High School at the county level was captain Zoe Hakim, Benjamin Brown and Jordan Lewis. Other students on the team include Jonathan Hightower (alternate), Faarooq Amosu, Mason Jones, Andrea Kornegay, Jada McCallam and Nishtha Patel. Coaches of the team are Mike Colatruglio and Matthew Howard.

Westlake High School was represented at the county event by captain Ashley Rodriguez, Deidre Gilliard and Elijah Watkins. Student Madison Parrish is the team alternate. Coaches of the team include Natalie Finch-Howard and Amanda D’Onofrio.  

It’s Academic features rounds of play in which three team members from each CCPS high school participate. A video of the local event is posted on the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) YouTube page at

The program also is airing on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon Fios Channel 12 throughout the school year on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.   

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event. CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).

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