Skip To Main Content
La Plata High School wins county’s ‘It’s Academic’ competition  

The La Plata High School team captained by senior William Alcorn with juniors Isaiah DeLeonard and Anne Vazhappilly took first place in the county’s “It’s Academic” competition Nov. 29, racking up 370 points. The team advances to compete against Georgetown Day School and Eleanor Roosevelt High School in a contest set to air April 20 on WETA.

As the second-place team, Maurice J. McDonough High School earned a chance to compete in a competition in fall 2024. The team members that competed in the recent contest, clocking 250 points, include Julie Perriello, a junior and team captain, along with seniors Noah Cusick and Daniel Howard. A programming date has not been finalized. Thomas Stone High School’s team took third place in the county contest. The Thomas Stone High School team made up of Kathryn Daniel, a junior and the captain, Jillian Daniel and Jordan Loeffler, took third place with 210 points.

The Greater Waldorf Jaycees donates scholarships to “It’s Academic” teams. The first-place team gets $500 with the remaining teams each receiving $250.

In pursuit of trivia
Alcorn joined La Plata’s “It’s Academic” team as a freshman when it met via Zoom due to distance learning. He admitted that he first joined the team after his mother suggested it. “I’m going to be honest,” he said. “My mom kind of made me do it.” But quickly, Alcorn found he enjoyed it. “I really like trivia. I just happen to, as I’ve gone through life, just pick up random bits of information,” he said, adding that his favorite subject is history. 

Like Alcorn, juniors DeLeonard and Vazhappilly have been involved in “It’s Academic” since they were freshmen and find themselves retaining bits of trivia that they learn. “You learn something new every day,” DeLeonard, who counts geography and music as his favorite subjects to study, said. “You find out a random fact? Pick it up and hang on to it.”

Vazhappilly said information she learned as a team member reverberates in the classroom and vice versa. “There are a lot of connections to my classes,” she said, adding that geography is her most liked subject. “What you learn in class, sometimes it will come up in ‘It’s Academic.’

The La Plata team members encouraged students to join their school “It’s Academic” team. “If you think you know a lot of random stuff and want to do something with it rather than just have it, you can join ‘It’s Academic,’” Alcorn said. “It’s a lot of fun. You learn a lot of random stuff too.”

DeLeonard said it’s a choice activity for anyone who has found themselves going down research rabbit holes and want to meet likeminded people. “It’s a really tightknit community, it’s very accepting and fun,” he said.

The teams
Each CCPS high school has an “It’s Academic” team coached by a staff member.

La Plata High School
The La Plata High School team is captained by senior William Alcorn with juniors Isaiah DeLeonard and Anne Vazhappilly also competing. Additional team members include seniors Kaleb Hubler and Ryann Tompkins, juniors Sarah Dang, Najib Khan, Kya Schoen and Addison Sheridan, and sophomore Christopher Burtch, who is the alternate. The team is coached by Matthew Panzarella, social studies teacher.

Henry E. Lackey High School

The Henry E. Lackey High School team is made up of senior Addison Hoiler, who is the captain, and juniors Michael Johnson and Gavin Klaas. Completing the team are seniors Ogechi Aliche, who serves as an alternate, Logan Green and Mark Mareko, juniors Miriam Bartholomew, Michael Brown and Bryce Payne, sophomores Nathan Laciny and Jessie Radford, and freshman Lauren Brown. The coach is James Hojnowski, social studies teacher. 

Maurice J. McDonough High School
McDonough’s team members are junior Julie Perriello, who is the team captain, and seniors Noah Cusack and Daniel Howard. Also on the team are seniors Christopher Baldwin and Laila Holloway, junior Ava Rowledge, who is the team’s alternate, and sophomores Cori Avent, Alexis Limerick, Jenna Moniz and Natalie Moore. The coaches for the team are Joanna Hobbs, school librarian, and Mary Dempsey, science teacher.

North Point High School
North Point High School’s team is captained by senior Zena Brantuo, with Farah Leblanc and Jeremiah Seger rounding out the team. Additional members include seniors Aaliyah Davis, Addyson Jordan, who is the alternate, Francesca Onianwah, Claire O’Rourke, William Tomaszewski and Corrine Welsh, juniors Erin Cooley and Timothy Martinez, sophomores Renata Ashton, Nakia Brown, Isabelle Locco, Journei Simms and Noah Williams, and freshman Chelsea Metzger. The coaches for the team are Moriah Rochlinski-Evans, Spanish teacher, and A’leese Dickerson, English teacher.

St. Charles High School
The St. Charles High School team includes seniors Anthony Bradshaw, who is the captain, and Dylan Bridgewater, and junior DaVein Britt. Completing the team are senior Chloe Del Rosario, who serves as an alternate, and juniors Cristian Avila-Melendez, Jordan Ferris, Tobi Ojo, Edenilson Velasquez Orellana, Austin Porter and Elias Thompson. St. Charles social studies teachers, Michael Colatruglio and Matthew Howard, are the team coaches.

Thomas Stone High School
Thomas Stone High School’s team is made up of juniors Kathyrn Daniel, who is the captain, Jillian Daniel and Jordan Loeffler. Also on the team are seniors Carley Brown and Carliece Wiggins, juniors Julissa Galdamez, Charles Gaskins, who is the team alternate, Summer Johnson, Maida Nazir and Camille Saguban, and sophomore Juliet Brown. The team’s coaches are social studies teachers, Melissa Hatch and Renee Hopper.

Westlake High School
The Westlake High School team is captained by senior Mason Wheeler and includes senior Amalachukwu Okoye and junior Mikhail Chichester. Enrico Vicente Coloma, a senior, is the team’s alternate. Natalie Finch-Howard, social studies teacher, and Lisa Landrum-May, English teacher, coach the team.

To view this year’s compeition, visit the CCPSTV YouTube page at

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 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 M. 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).