Howard High wins 2nd `Academic' crown


May 28, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ANSWERING questions on everything from science to current events, a team of seniors from Howard High School captured the championship of the It's Academic game show May 18.

Students Patrick McKinney, Kyle Burkhalter and Rebecca Lambert clinched the win to capture Howard High's second championship in three years. It was the third year that Patrick, Kyle and Rebecca have participated as a team. They won the Super Bowl championship as sophomores and placed second last year.

The students were coached by John Gilbert, who has coached Howard High School students for 11 years. During his tenure, students from the school have been in the Baltimore semifinals seven times in a row - eight times in all.

Gilbert, an auto mechanic who lives in Silver Spring, became a coach after a friend with a child at Howard High told him there was a need. Gilbert coaches the youths several times a week and arranges for scrimmages against other schools. "Most of what we do is mock game sets," Gilbert said.

He quizzes the students, using questions he dreams up or gets from past shows that he has on tape. He also buys questions that are sold by tournaments for a nominal fee, he said.

"Pretty much any subject is fair game," he said, "from trivia to any current events to any academic subject, math, history, literature, science of any kind, as long as you don't get too complicated."

There are other competitions during the school year, but It's Academic, which is sponsored by Giant Food, is the only one that is televised.

This year, 81 Baltimore-area schools participated. After two rounds of matches, nine semifinal teams remained, including four Howard County high schools: Howard, Mount Hebron, Centennial and Hammond.

The Howard team beat its local competition May 11; then it squared off in the Super Bowl Championship on May 18 against championship teams from Robert E. Lee in Virginia and Holton Arms in Washington.

The contest was taped at the WRC-TV studios in Washington. The Baltimore-area semifinal match will be shown at 11 a.m. June 15 on WJZ-TV; the Baltimore-area final match will be shown at 11 a.m. June 22. The Super Bowl match will be aired at 7 p.m. June 22 on WJZ and WRC.

School hug

Pupils from Manor Woods Elementary School in Ellicott City and Phelps Luck Elementary School in Columbia will give their schools hugs Friday as part of a "United in Reading" celebration.

Manor Woods Elementary has created reading incentive programs every year for the past five years, said Jim Weisner, principal at Manor Woods. "Each year, we try to come up with something different from the year before," he said.

Last year, Manor Woods pupils were challenged to read for a total of 1 million minutes. This year, the school teamed up with the smaller Phelps Luck, and the children were challenged to double that total.

Starting in January, they kept track of their reading with book marks that were collected and tallied by parent volunteers. By the end of the challenge, the total number of minutes read was 2,265,733.

"We wanted to do something with a school that's a little more culturally diverse than ours," Weisner said. Students from both schools also worked together to create handprint-decorated handkerchiefs, which will be given to members of the U.S. military serving overseas.

Both schools will recognize the participating schoolchildren with a celebration scheduled for Friday. Then the youths will hold hands to create a circle around their respective schools and give the buildings symbolic hugs, Weisner explained. The hugs are to take place between 2:25 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. The rain date for the celebration is Monday.

Garlic competition

Elkridge resident Steve Wecker took first place in the Garlic Mustard Challenge recipe contest sponsored by the Patapsco Valley State Park and organized by The Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway.

Garlic mustard is a flavorful green that was brought to the region as a culinary herb but is now crowding out the local wildflowers. For the past three years, garlic mustard challenges have been held to pull the green and then cook with it. This year, more than 1,700 pounds of garlic mustard was pulled from the ground.

Wecker won in the professional chef category with his recipe for mashed potatoes made with garlic mustard. Here is his winning recipe:

Mrs. Z's Garlic Mustard Mashed Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 pound butter

2 slices salt pork, chopped

1/4 cup garlic mustard leaves, chopped

Pepper to taste

Boil four large russet potatoes until soft. Peel and mash. Saute garlic mustard with salt pork. Drain. Add to potatoes with butter and garlic mustard. Add sour cream and pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Alex Streat, 12, also won for his Garlic Mustard Pasta. His recipe:

1 pound linguine

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup garlic mustard, washed, crisped and chopped

Cook linguine according to directions on box. Saute garlic mustard in butter. Blend with cooked linguine. Garnish with garlic mustard stems. Serve hot or chilled.

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