It’s not every day that high school students get to show off their knowledge on TV, but four Wellesley students had that opportunity on January 21 when they competed on WGBH’s

High School Quiz Show.  

The Wellesley Quiz Show team was matched up against Natick for the round of sixteen matchup, with the winner advancing to the quarter finals. To compete on the TV show, teams competed in a qualifying round dubbed “Super Sunday” on November 5. Out of over 100 teams trying out, Wellesley was one of the sixteen who scored high enough to advance.

Competing for Wellesley on Sunday were captain Kate Dario ’18 and members Julia Chaffers ’18, Will Henshon ’19, and Christopher Bonis ’19. Alternate Sebastian Sanchez ’21 and Coach Dr. Robert Cohen were also in attendance. Going into the competition, Dario felt assured that her team was up to the challenge.

“I felt like we had prepared to the best to our ability,” she said. “I knew that there would be a learning curve with regard being on the stage but going into the competition I was unsure on how that would affect us,” she said.

To prepare, the team “met met weekly and went through online trivia quizzes like Sporcle and HQ. We also watched old episodes of High School Quiz Show, both together and our own,” Dario said.

Although Dario acknowledges the importance of practicing for the competition, she couldn’t wait to put her skills to the test on Sunday. “I enjoy the competition aspect so I was looking forward to being able to compete. You just don’t really get to do that when you’re practicing- you’re so focused on learning how to work together,” she said.

Radio and television personality Billy Costa hosted the match up, which was split into four rounds: toss up, head to head, category, and lightning round. The toss up round consisted of geography questions like “what is the largest desert in Africa?” and science questions like “which organelle is responsible for converting food into energy?”

To answer each question, the competitors buzzed in. Whoever buzzed in first had the opportunity to answer. If correct, they gained ten points. If incorrect, the other team had the opportunity to answer. In this round, incorrect answers did not result in a deduction of points.

In the head to head round, each member from the Wellesley and Natick team was paired up. They were asked a trivia question, with the person who buzzed in first getting the only crack at answering. A right answer resulted in ten points while an incorrect answer resulted in the loss of ten points. After the question was answered, the next pair stepped up for the next question.

Following the head to head round was the category round. These questions were based on six categories: “Benny and the Jets,” which focused on questions about famous Benedicts, “More Cowbell,” which focused on rock and roll questions, “Foreign Exchange,” which included questions about foreign words and phrases, “All Shook Up,” about plate tectonics, “Three Times a Lady,” where contestants were quizzed on their knowledge of famous women with three names, and the last category included questions about triangles. For this round, each question from the same category increased in point value, such that the first question from “Foreign Exchange” was worth less than the second.

The competition closed out with a lighting round, when competitors were able to buzz in in the middle of the question, making for a fast-paced finale.

But the event was not just exciting because the team would be able to test their trivia knowledge. It was the first time for each member of the team that they had competed on the quiz show, and it was an experience they would never forget.

“It was incredible [and] so official,” Dario said. “You feel really important. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a celebrity for a few moments when professional makeup artists were attending to me.”

It was also an exciting experience for the audience, who were asked at various points to cheer, hold up signs, and even participate in a dance-off during a break between rounds.  

Indeed, Olivia Badertscher ’18, who attended the taping, was impressed by the tempo of the event. “One aspect that I found exciting was the speed of the rounds in the game. They really seemed to go by quickly and the points added up really fast,” she said.

Make sure to see the results of the matchup by tuning in to WGBH on March 3.


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