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Academic Challenge starts 51st season with new host, new time and new sponsor

Posted at 12:26 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2019-10-01 16:36:06-04

News 5 proudly announces the 51st season of the historic high school quiz show Nordson Academic Challenge. The first episode airs this Sat., Dec. 22 at a new time of 10 am. Rob Powers, anchor of News 5 at 6pm and 11pm, takes over as host.

“I grew up watching the show when Don Webster was the host, and it’s a real honor and joy to be involved in such a long-standing Cleveland tradition," Powers said.

This season the show is available on Roku, Amazon Fire and other streaming devices.

Another new component of the program is title sponsor Nordson. Headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, Nordson Corporation is a global industrial technology company. Throughout its history, Nordson has invested more than $100 million in charitable endeavors to improve the quality of life in their community, placing a special focus on causes related to education.

Nordson Academic Challenge is one of the longest running, locally-produced shows in television history. The show was seen on News 5 from 1964-1999 and returned to the air in 2003. Originally called "It's Academic" and hosted by Don Cameron, the program underwent a name change in 1972 when Don Webster was named host.

While the students are the stars of each show, the mission of Academic Challenge is to shine the spotlight on academic excellence and the importance of education in all of our communities. Each week, students representing schools from all around Northern Ohio use their smarts to battle toward the season championship. Three teams compete for points by answering questions covering such topics as math, science, history and current events. At the end of each program, the points are totaled, and at the end of the season the three highest scoring teams return for the championship match.

Last year, Westlake took home the championship. To see other past winner and this year’s schedule, visit