Player Testimonials

Few are better suited to talk about MasterMinds than those who participated.
See what some of our former participants have said about their experiences with the program.
If you are a former player and wish to submit something, send an e-mail to:

I graduated from Nardin Academy in 2005 as the VP of our Quiz Bowl club.  Jeopardy! happened to jog my memory/curiosity last night, so I went looking for the MasterMinds site.  I was thrilled to find it still alive and well-updated...complete with archives!  I got to relive our crushing playoff defeat from my senior year, haha.  Truly though, I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time in MasterMinds, and it prepared me well for NAQT competitions in college.
Since high school, I've come across a fair number of former MasterMinds participants from various regions. Upon discovering the MasterMinds connection, the conversation unfailingly goes the same way: people get all excited to meet a fellow trivia nerd.
I just loved MasterMinds completely, and it's terrific to see all the teams of kids across the state still loving it the same way I did.
Kristin Cameron, Nardin Academy Class of 2005
Becoming a part of MasterMinds was the best decision I made throughout my four years of high school. As a freshman, I didn't know anybody in the club and I was anxious to join. I felt welcomed as soon as I stepped through the door. I was not only welcomed during practices at my school, but at matches at other schools and by everybody involved with running MasterMinds.
I started paying attention to seemingly "meaningless" details in class, trying to absorb as much as I could for MasterMinds. When I had a practice or match to look forward to, I dragged myself out of bed quicker, rushed to get ready for school, and was more cheerful throughout the day. Most importantly, I met one of my favorite teachers and some of my closest friends as a result of MasterMinds.
I will always cherish the memories we made playing Trivial Pursuit and thinking up random solutions to bonus question. MasterMinds was easily my favorite part of high school.
Jessica Chellino, Depew HS Class of 2016
MasterMinds was a great way for me to get into trivia in a competitive setting and was one of the most fun I've had in clubs in high school. When you and your three teammates are up on the buzzers, you just feel the camaraderie and the team aspect is really what makes the game more fun. If you love trivia, you will love MasterMinds. It's also a great place to not only strengthen friendships but also make new ones by meeting players from all around your region. Also getting the question right off the bat for a fresh 15 points is possibly one of the best feelings in the world.
Cameron Priest, Wayne HS Class of 2015
MasterMinds is an enriching experience that expands your horizons by introducing you to experiences, people, and knowledge you never would have otherwise thought to encounter.  I absolutely recommend MasterMinds to anyone who loves the pursuit of trivia (or Trivial Pursuit.)
Sheldon Lewis III, Olmsted Class of 2016
The MasterMinds program was a bit of a life changer for me. At 16 I had heard quite a bit about this “Jeopardy for teams” through other members of my cross country team, and loathe for the season to end I jumped at the chance to join. The friends I made within the program, both within my own school and from those we played against, undeniably became my closest for the remainder of my high school years. I am still in contact with a few, and would not give up the experience I had for any reason. It is a worthy experience for any skill level, and does well to prepare you for various college bowl and adult trivia leagues going forward.
Elizabeth Marvin, Geneva DeSales HS Class of 2006

I remember when I first joined MasterMinds, I was too shy to buzz in even during after-school practice. When I finally mustered up the courage to buzz in during a match against another school, I literally tasted adrenaline. It may seem odd to think of MasterMinds as intense or exhilarating, but that's how it was for me, and I became hooked. While I grew accustomed to the "spotlight" of the buzzer, it was always a rush for me to nail an early powermark or carry a bonus question for my team. Eventually I became one of the strongest players in my league, and I still feel pride when I consider how much I grew over my 4 years in MasterMinds.
Christian Baker, Williamson HS Class of 2012
Joining the MasterMinds team in my sophomore year was one of the best decisions I made in high school. I have been a fan of trivia from a young age and MasterMinds finally provided me with a place where I could demonstrate my knowledge in a competitive setting. MasterMinds not only improved my academics, but my leadership and organizational skills from being the president and captain of our team for two years. Additionally, MasterMinds introduced me to some of my closest friends from other schools that participated in MasterMinds in both the Rochester and Albany regions. MasterMinds is an excellent program that I would recommend to anyone looking to learn more, make new friends, be competitive, and have fun.
Reagan Patrowicz, Canandaigua HS Class of 2018

Becoming more involved with MasterMinds in my Sophomore year was one of the best decisions I made in High School. That year, I formed close relationships with those on the "JV" team and we began to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses. By the time we were upperclassmen, MasterMinds had taught us how to balance everyone's best traits to hide our worst and create the greatest benefit for the team as a whole. This type of team-building has served me time and time again, both in college courses and in the workplace. Outside of skills gained is just how purely enjoyable it is to play a match; I always looked forward to the third Thursday of every month. MasterMinds will always be one of my most cherished memories of High School.
Kyle Thaine, Albion HS Class of 2016
MasterMinds gives students a relatively unique opportunity to participate in team competition based on knowledge.  It covers an extremely broad range of categories so students who are experts in sports, history, pop culture, or a number of other topics have a chance to shine as well as students who are generally interested in a number of subject areas.  I value this as a teacher and education professor.  When I look back on my experience playing MasterMinds, however, what first comes to mind is how much fun I had!  It is a great program that I would recommend to everyone.
Sarah Marchitelli, Gates Chili HS Class of 2005
I joined MasterMinds by teacher suggestion in my Sophomore year. And I’m so glad that I did! MasterMinds not only introduced me to academic competition, but connected me with individuals equally as passionate about academia as myself. The friendships and mentorships I developed through the program were extremely influential on my high school experience. MasterMinds is a great opportunity to learn, be part of a team, and have fun!
Isabelle Steiner, Lewiston-Porter HS Class of 2019
I have nothing but fond memories of MasterMinds. Such a well-run program and a wonderful introduction to the world of trivia competition. My team won the regional championship my Senior year, and I still look back on those tense playoff matches as some of the highlights of my youth! As team captain, and it was a great way to build leadership skills and confidence in my ability to perform under pressure—valuable skills for many future pursuits in college and beyond.  
Aviva Geiger Schwarz, Brighton HS Class of 1997
I liked my time in MasterMinds a lot, for a number of reasons: the sense of camaraderie between my teammates and myself when prepping for a meet, the ability to flex some obscure knowledge that otherwise may not have been useful, and the ability to learn new things if we got a question incorrect- everything about it is a learning experience, and it's also the ability to teach others as well.
Victoria Marcario, Catholic Central HS Class of 2014
MasterMinds gave me a fun, competitive outlet for everything I learned in and out of school. It gave me motivation to learn as much as I could in class in the hopes that I could apply that knowledge in a tournament. It brought our team closer together as we learned to rely on each other's strengths. I had a wonderful experience with MasterMinds.
Cameron Ziegler, Canandaigua Academy Class of 2014
MasterMinds was easily one of my favorite activities I participated in through my entire time at Gates Chili. I will always remember how much fun my team and I had at meets and how we would look forward to competing. MasterMinds was such an important part of my life that it was a no-brainer to continue on to play Quiz Bowl when I attended RIT. I made lasting friends through both of these programs and would encourage any student to join their school’s MasterMinds club and become a part of the fast-paced, knowledge-testing competitions.
Brian Bullis, Gates Chili HS Class of 2017
“Nerd culture” has become almost totally mainstream, but at the time when I was in MasterMinds, being branded a nerd was like a scarlet letter. MasterMinds provided you an opportunity to geek out and be nerdy. I also always loved Jeopardy!, so for me it was like being on the show.
Saul Maneiro, Wilson Magnet Class of 1994
MasterMinds was an important part of my high school career. It helped me build critical thinking  and quick thinking skills as well as teamwork.  I look fondly on my experience over 20 years later. Anyone with a love of knowledge and facts will love MasterMinds.
Jason Marsherall, Williamsville South HS Class of 1999
I joined MasterMinds my sophomore year of high school, with many of my friends. To be honest, we didn’t really know what MasterMinds was but we’d hear announcements for it at school and people would joke to us that we belonged there—since we were the nerdier/brainier kids in school. Our geometry teacher had us play a game in class to recruit more players and we were hooked. MasterMinds was one of the only activities I did in school, being not so athletically inclined, and was some of the best times in high school. Being able to learn with my team to find each other's strengths and weaknesses, that feeling when you absolutely are going to nail a question (my friend and I were ecstatic when there was an entire bonus in competition about a TV show we watched together), and even being able to play cards with my friends between matches. It taught us competition and camaraderie, and gave me a life long love of trivia.
Kathy (Amendolara) Breithaupt, Berlin HS Class of 2012
I was very excited to be involved with MasterMinds for many years. It was a great time to focus on an academically focused competition, instead of just the athletic ones. Pushing the limits on memorizing or applying our knowledge from school lessons really helped me retain a lot more than, if I was just doing the homework and taking the tests. Our team had a diverse group of players and it was interesting to bring such different backgrounds together, to start inside jokes, and hang out in the holding rooms together. We all learned how to identify our own and each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the best ways to work together. My experience was so great I encouraged my younger sister to join as well! More than anything, participating in MasterMinds was fun and a bright spot in my memories of high school.
Katey Sackett, Honeoye Central HS Class of 2013
Participating in MasterMinds allowed me to meet many students from different school districts and create lasting friendships. MasterMinds also gave me a platform to expand my confidence in an academic setting, as well as an opportunity to gain knowledge from peers, moderators, and coaches.
Jeanette Jayne, Dundee HS Class of 2016
I’ve been a huge trivia buff my whole life, but outside watching Jeopardy, I never had a chance to use my useless knowledge anywhere else.  That’s why loved finding out about MasterMinds in high school.  It gave me that avenue.  Plus, MasterMinds gave me a sense of self-confidence due to my personal success at it.
Brendan Chella, Orchard Park HS Class of 2006
MasterMinds was one of the highlights of my time in high school. Not only was it a great outlet for all the “impractical” knowledge cluttering up my brain, but it also taught me the value of teamwork and the always important lesson that real learning occurs in a community. It’s a great balance of competition and camaraderie, and it gives you a better appreciation of the diverse and fascinating range of interests and expertise other people can have. I’d encourage anyone to give it a try-you’ll always be surprised with how much you know, and how much you have yet to learn!
Jonathan Price, Kendall HS Class of 2015
My time playing on the school’s MasterMinds team was a wonderful experience.  Games were always exciting and tested our knowledge across a wide variety of subjects.  The mixture of individual toss ups and team bonus questions fostered cooperation and coordination under pressure: skills that are still very applicable for me today.  The tournament format also allowed us to travel to new parts of the state, match up against other schools throughout the region, and work together toward our goal of making the playoffs.  Overall, MasterMinds was an excellent opportunity to learn, compete, and have fun!
Chris Plunkett, Broadalbin-Perth HS Class of 2012
I started MasterMinds when I was in 8th grade. The Academic Challenge Bowl was my favorite thing to do after school. I was constantly learning new facts which helped with my testing scores. I stayed in the program until my graduation in 2020. The last day of MasterMinds was so bittersweet. I’ve had so many memories in the bus rides and meeting the other competitors. They were so friendly! MasterMinds also helped me define who I was. There’s not a lot of things that I stay doing. My likes and dislikes change all the time. MasterMinds was one thing that never changed. It was a constant in my life. I believe that when people think of me, they think of MasterMinds. It will always be a part of how I define myself and I’m proud of it.  I want to thank everyone who has helped throughout the years. Being a part of something special like MasterMinds makes you special.
Susel Linares, Rochester School of the Arts HS Class of 2020

I joined MasterMinds during my freshman year of high school, but I only became really active during my sophomore year. MasterMinds was a great social activity, and I made and improved many friendships during my time in MasterMinds. My high school career was punctuated by events relating to MasterMinds, and it became a significant part of my high school experience. MasterMinds encourages students to expand and deepen their knowledge through learning in order to compete at a higher level with other bright students. As captain of my school's MasterMinds team during my senior year, I developed leadership skills in trying to recruit classmates who had particular academic strengths, and helped expose them to the MasterMinds program. I truly believe that MasterMinds is a great program that every high school should participate in because MasterMinds helps strengthen a school's  academic excellence, helps its students make friends, and enables its students to learn how to work as a team.
Michael Connolly, Bethlehem HS Class of 2018
I was part of our middle school’s Quiz Bowl team and despite not scoring very many points, I decided to try out our high school MasterMinds team.  It was an amazing decision. I would attend team practices and work at getting better each week. I would then start scoring more and more, even applying concepts we learned in class. Although, acquiring points under your name may have been fun, the best memories I had were with my friends at each meet. Whether it was the exhilaration of a close match or just chilling and eating pizza with together, each meet was an awesome experience. My friends and I worked up to be co-captains and we led our team to new heights, happy to leave our mark. MasterMinds was an amazing experience that I wish I could relive. We had the best teammates, coaches and most importantly: friends.
Aaron Anandarajah, Pittsford Mendon Class of 2020
As a high schooler, MasterMinds introduced me to a community of students who honored intelligence and pursued knowledge in a way I hadn't seen in most of my classmates. I grew from a JV to Varsity player and honed my knowledge, learned from my teammates and coach, and developed an acute sense of timing and patience. I met other students from schools around the area who I never would have known otherwise, and at every meet I encountered someone who blew me away, and made me want to do better.
Having extreme respect for the folks up front who ran the meets, it was an easy decision to become a moderator after I graduated. I loved that I could be a part of the team that encourages students to take pride in their knowledge and work together. I'm honored to have been able to contribute to such an empowering and rewarding program, and am grateful to the entire MasterMinds family for the open invitation to continue working with them.
Julia (Figliotti) Riley, Grand Island Class of 2009
As a player, I appreciated the camaraderie and sense of accomplishment I got participating in MasterMinds.  Both Academic Challenge Bowl and MasterMinds allowed me to flex my existing knowledge, but as an adult I can see that the biggest rewards go beyond the intellectual.  MasterMinds competitions taught me dedication and teamwork. My teammates and I acknowledged each other's areas of expertise in order to build a balanced roster and committed to practices after school to try to build our knowledge.  MasterMinds taught me tenacity. Buzzing in and getting a question right gives a sense of elation and accomplishment, but buzzing in and getting a question wrong still teaches that the world will not end and that putting yourself out there before you are completely sure can be rewarding. MasterMinds taught me grace and professionalism. Both the grace of winning and the grace of losing has helped me immensely in how I conduct myself in my adult life. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything, and to this day I remember my experiences fondly.
Ariella Prosch Newman, Canandaigua Academy Class of 2014