Milton, Hingham earn quiz-show slots
Milton and Hingham are among 16 high schools statewide selected to participate in the third season of the WGBH “High School Quiz Show’’ premiering Feb. 12. This is Hingham’s third attempt at making it past the quarterfinals and Milton’s first time on the show.
“I was in my kitchen,’’ said student Julia Clark, recalling the day she found out Milton made the top 16. “I was jumping up and down. . . . I was very excited that we’d made it.’’
Each of the 16 four-member teams secured a spot on the show by earning top scores at “Super Sunday’’ recently, where 78 out of the 91 schools that signed up to participate this year took identical, 100-question oral quizzes.
In the previous two years, participation at “Super Sunday’’ was limited, and in the first year, only Eastern Massachusetts teams could participate. But this year, Quiz Show organizers wanted to open the field to all public high schools in the state.
Next month, two teams at a time will field questions from quiz show host Billy Costa. The teams that win there will advance to the quarterfinals, then semifinals, and finally a Massachusetts championship match, which will air in June.
The tournament bracket, showing who is up against whom, will be announced shortly. In the meantime, teams are working on learning everything from history to science and literature.
Hesitant to reveal specifics about how her team practices, Milton coach Nancy Mikels said members will mostly be culling from an already established base of knowledge.
“They all do so many activities, and these make them who they are as individuals and as a team,’’ she said. “It gives them extra knowledge they might not pick up in the classroom.’’
Fellow coach Paul Arenburg added that the students are already smart enough and just need help working as a team.
“As coaches, our role is not really to get them to learn more, but to get them to work together,’’ he said. “It’s a true team effort with a unified goal of wanting to win.’’
The Hingham team, on the other hand, plans to eat plenty of cupcakes and brownies - the go-to snack at practices - and work on “buzzer technique,’’ said one of its members.
“We are really focusing our attention on buzzing speed, along with being drilled on questions likely to appear,’’ said Edward Walrod. “It really matters how fast you hit that buzzer; if it’s too late, you’re out of luck.’’
Hingham coach Kim Juric said she has asked each student to write 10 questions on subjects the team seems a little weaker in. Then, as the competition draws closer, she will rotate through each student’s questions until they’ve all been practiced.
“Hopefully, this will be fun for them,’’ Juric said. But “I don’t want to give lots of work, because they have plenty of real homework and extracurricular activities they’re all involved in.’’
Many members of both teams are part of larger quiz bowl groups that compete year round in a variety of capacities.
At Hingham, students on the 10-member quiz bowl team rotate through tournaments around the state, with WGBH’s being just one. Last month they participated in a bowl at Harvard University, and later this year they’ll take an online quiz and may travel out of state.
In Milton, several members of the team are on the school’s Life Smarts team, in which they are more likely to be tested on life-skills questions than those with an academic focus.
The reasons for joining the quiz bowl teams at each school varied, but team members all expressed a love for knowledge and the chance to represent his or her school.
For participant Destiny Edouard, it’s a childhood dream come true, even if it’s a bit “dorky.’’
“I’ve always loved ‘Jeopardy,’ and as a kid I would watch ‘Teen Jeopardy’ wishing I could be on it,’’ Edouard said. “Now, I’m in high school and I’m actually doing it.’’
But for Walrod, it’s what he’s been training for all these years as a student.
“We’re being recognized for what our schools are supposed to be doing for each of us,’’ he said. “School isn’t all about fun; it’s about learning, and this shows that you really know something. It’s gratifying.’’
As for those to-be-expected, pre-show jitters? Nick Juzyca, a Milton team member, says he’ll just have to wait and see.
“We’ve never been in front of a camera, so who knows what will happen? I guess we’ll find out then,’’ he said with a shrug.
The final 16 also include teams from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Arlington High School, Belmont High School, Beverly High School, Brookline High School, Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, Lexington High School, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Rockport High School, Seekonk High School, Sharon High School, Shrewsbury High School, Somerville High School, and Weston High School.
Natalie Feulner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.