|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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
Ariella Prosch Newman, Canandaigua Academy Class of 2014