Friday, February 18, 2022

Windham leads in bid to compete in PBS Quiz Show Tournament

Windham High School's Quiz Show Team is going strong
as they compete academically at the state and national levels.
Members include from left, Bryce Vance (senior); Co-Advisor
English Teacher Nicole Densmore; Co-Advisor Math Teacher
John Ziegler; Al Potter (junior); Victoria Lin (junior);
Will Stuart (sophomore); Rosie Lydon (sophomore); Kaitlyn
Farrin (sophomore); Team Captain Greta Paulding (junior); and
Francesca Lomonte (freshman). Not shown are Xavier Bowman,
Alex Pooler, Browin Dieumegard and Logan Alcott.
By Lorraine Glowczak

While most prepared to watch the showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 13, members of the Windham High School Quiz Show Team were in an intellectual battle of their own, competing against top academic high schools throughout Maine and Massachusetts in a Maine Online Winter Tournament.

Like the Rams, the HSQST came out as top contenders in this virtual competition. The team competed again on Feb. 16 in hopes of qualifying for the popular PBS Quiz Show Tournament this spring and results from that event will be known Feb. 28. 

If they qualify, they will compete against 16 other high school teams with a chance to win $1,000 toward their Project Graduation. Runner-ups will receive $500.

The HSQST also competed two weeks ago in the Nationwide Novice Tournament scoring high against top schools from the Midwest to the East Coast. This high-scoring academic group is a relatively new team to Windham High School and consists of scholarly and trivia-loving students. Members include Greta Paulding (captain), Kaitlyn Farrin (alternate captain), Al Potter, Victoria Lin, Francesca Lomonte, Will Stuart, Rosie Lydon, Ralph Leavitt, Bryce Vance, Xavier Bowman, Alex Pooler, Browin Dieumegard, and Logan Alcott.

“The High School Quiz Show Team was founded here at Windham High School in the fall of 2018,” HSQST co-advisor and math teacher John Ziegler said. “Mr. Caron (WHS Principal) put out a call to see who would be willing to sponsor a team, and I, along with Nicole Densmore took over as co-sponsors.”

The HSQST was only a little over one year strong and hadn’t had the opportunity to compete yet when the pandemic hit. Yet, despite the challenges of online learning, the team continued to meet and compete virtually to strengthen their intellectual prowess, preparing to be the team they are today.

Densmore said the weekly meetings not only offered academic fortitude but contributed to much-needed social connections during a time of isolation.

“Our weekly meetings during the height of the pandemic sustained, entertained, and engaged me intellectually and socially,” co-adviser and English teacher Densmore said. “The team often said the meetings were a highlight of their week, and they were for me. They would stay on a Meet for hours after, talking, connecting, and sharing. Those late Friday afternoon conversations and the purpose they gave staff and students alike provide many sweet memories.”

Densmore and Ziegler state that all HSQST members have made profound intellectual contributions to the team’s success this year, adding that Paulding, Farrin and Lin have consistently placed high in all competitions so far. In Sunday’s tournament, Paulding placed 13th, Lin placed 24th, and Farrin placed 40th, out of 100 teams, each consisting between four to seven members.

For many reasons, the HSQST members have come to be a part of and enjoy participating in this intellectual group. Farrin, who the team relies on for her Greek Mythology, pop culture, and the Bronte Sisters knowledge, shares the story of how she became involved with this group.

“Last year during homecoming week I decided to compete for the Class of 2024 in the trivia competition,” Farrin said. “I was only a freshman at the time. The team consisted of one other girl and me, and we managed to beat all of the upperclassmen. That by itself was super cool, but later in the day, while I was in health class, I got a visit from Mr. Ziegler. He had hosted the earlier competition, but I had no clue who he was - I actually thought he was a guidance counselor. He ended up inviting me to join the team, which consisted mostly of seniors at the time. I was a little nervous before joining the first meeting, but when I did, I had a blast and never looked back.”

All HSQST members believe that their greatest success lies in teamwork and their individual strengths.

“One of the most important teamwork aspects of quiz show is accurately evaluating what everyone's strengths are compared to yours,” Lin said. “If there's a Greek mythology question, I'm more careful to ring in because I know there are others on my team who by far will know more than I will. If it's a physics question I'm more confident because I know I'm most likely going to answer for my team.”

Paulding, who excels in history and literature, said that her strengths come from good memory and a love for learning. “I’m constantly seeking out more topics to learn about. As my team’s captain, I also work to encourage my teammates and help them see their strengths,” she said.

Ziegler concurred with the students' views of teamwork, stating that he and Densmore work well together as co-advisors, acknowledging their individual assets.

“It has been a great combination, with us both bringing different strengths to the table. Nicole is more organized and more supportive, while I’m the more competitive side of the duo.”

Team Captain Paulding applauds the work of the whole team and the co-advisors for their dedication and a job well done.

“I can’t thank my team enough,” she said. “Their astounding knowledge base, support, and sense of humor keep me going through wins and losses. I am privileged to stand by their side. Our coaches, Mr. Ziegler and Ms. Densmore are incredible. Thanks to them, we continued to practice over Zoom last year when other teams stopped meeting altogether. We are so blessed to have such dedicated leaders.”

Densmore notes that the HSQST share lots of laughs and love for all things trivia.

“Ask any HSQST team member about Cleveland, Emu Wars, The Great Molasses Flood, or modern musicals and you'll see what I mean,” she said. “They are very passionate and curious, and they inspire me both in the club setting and in my classroom to go deeper and be more playful with teaching and learning.”

And speaking of trivia, the next time you visit Portland Pie in Windham and answer the “Fun Fact of the Day” correctly, you will have Paulding, who works at the restaurant, to thank as she is the individual who brought the phone trivia competition to her pizza-loving customers. < 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.