PEORIA — Practice is the name of the game for five students at Basis Peoria High School Friday. Their thumbs warmed up, ready to buzz their way to a top finish at the National Science Bowl.
“Oh yeah, there’s a lot of pressure to perform well. You’ve studied a lot, you’ve done all this work, you really don’t want to mess up,” said ninth grader Thomas Brooks.
It doesn’t take long as they run through question after question to realize these students are smart. Really smart. Leaning on each other’s varying talents along the way.
“Each of us have our own specializations so for me it’s math and chemistry, for Akhil or Adhitya it’d be like biology or Earth and space,” said 12th grader Yash Lol.
It’s that diverse knowledge across the team that helped them win regionals recently, qualifying them to take on the best teams in the nation in May.
“It really is an exercise in teamwork, like knowledge is important but just as important is working as a team together and at regionals we were like a well-oiled machine,” said tenth grader Russell Georgi. “We were checking each other, making sure we didn’t get things wrong, and that’s a wonderful experience, it really does help build bonds between us,”
It’s a chemistry that they’ve built over time, thanks to endless hours of study together. But make no mistake, they have fun while they do it.
“There are definitely a lot of nerdy inside jokes like a lot, brought up on a weekly basis for sure, even a daily basis on some days, so yeah, we’re definitely close,” said eleventh grader Akhil Rokkam.
A camaraderie they hope leads to more success and a trip to Washington DC for the title. While they’ve enjoyed basking in their regional win, their minds are ready for what’s ahead.
“More importantly I think we’re really focused on studying and trying to do really well in nationals this year,” said Lol.