Friday, October 21, 2022

Windham High School Quiz Team opens season with second-place trophy

By Lorraine Glowczak

The intellectual competitions for the trivia-loving Windham High School students begin again this year as they sailed through their second tournament at Plymouth Regional High School in New Hampshire on Saturday, October 15. The High School Quiz Team sparred against about 10 other New England high school teams that traveled from as far away as Syracuse, New York.

The Windham High School Quiz Team gathers with their
second-place trophy on the Gould Academy Campus. Front
from left are, Nolan McPhail, Greta Paulding, Kaitlyn Farrin,
and Alex Pooler (team manager). Middle from left, Juliar Demar,
Will Stuart, Delia Tomkus, Victoria Lin, Al Potter, John
Ziegler, and Nicole Densmore. Back is Ralph Leavitt. 
Although the team didn’t place in this tournament, the players faired very well at the Maine Quiz Bowl Alliance tournament at the beginning of the month at Gould Academy in Bethel. The WSQT finished second overall, placing first among Maine teams.

“Kaitlyn Farrin [Junior] finished eleventh in the tournament in scoring, Victoria Lin [Senior] finished eighth, and Greta Paulding [Senior] finished second,” co-advisor and WHS math teacher John Ziegler said.

Ziegler also stated that a newcomer to the team, sophomore Julia Demar, had a fantastic performance in her first tournament. He also shared the successful contributions of other team members.

“Julia finished15th in the tournament in scoring. Freshmen Nolan McPhail and Delia Tomkus also played well in their first tournament. Returning veterans Al Potter [Senior], Will Stuart [Junior], and Ralph Leavitt [Junior] provided both leadership and good answers as they rounded out the team. And, of course, it is great to have the support of our team manager, Alex Pooler [Junior], who is always there keeping score.”

The HSQT members prepare weekly for these highly competitive, albeit fun, tournaments. To become well-versed in various topics, they often meet and focus on specific categories until they can easily recall random facts.

“We meet for 1 1/2 hours after school on Mondays and for 30 minutes in the morning on Fridays,” co-advisor and WHS English teacher Nicole Densmore said. “We also meet during the summer for two hours or more every Friday. We focused our summer learning on US and World history, as well as opera and North American poets.”

There are many reasons why students join HSQT, and it doesn’t require an individual to know every trivial category or to be considered a genius. Instead, team members say what matters most is to enjoy learning about random facts, wanting to make new friends, and – most importantly - having fun.

“The HSQT is what I would describe as a beautiful chaos,” HSQT team member, Tomkus said. “Somehow, all of us, with our random bits of knowledge, manage to fill in each other's gaps and answer most of the questions. It's really fun, and I have learned a lot since I joined.”

Tomkus continued, sharing what she discovered from her first experience at the Gould Academy tournament.

“I learned that while you still try your hardest, you can also rely on the other team members. For my first tournament, I would say I did fairly well, and I answered a few random questions about music and mythology. Poetry and specific names and dates were probably the hardest for me, but my teammates answered quite a few of those questions.”

Even the advisors get in on the fun as they help guide and prepare the students to be the best they can be.

“What I love about being a High School Quiz Team advisor is getting the opportunity to interact with a fantastic group of students in a positive way,” Ziegler said. “As a teacher, some of your students are excited about learning, and others less so. As an HSQT advisor, all your students are excited about learning, or they wouldn't be there. For example, on our trip to Gould Academy, Greta and I quizzed the team members about US presidents. Nolan felt he didn't know his presidents well enough, so he went home and memorized the list of all the presidents from Washington to Biden. Only an HSQT student would do that.”

Densmore said she enjoys watching students learn new things about the world simply because they are curious, or the topic interests them.

“I really enjoy watching them joke, sing, and interact, whether we are on the road or in the classroom,” she said. “The students who participate are adorable and admirable because they give so much time to the trivia cause and take care of the team by building learning tools like Quizlets or Kahoots or making treats for each other’s birthdays. We are a close group.”

This close-knit group of wise and witty students not only prepare for the tournaments throughout the year but also participate in quiz bowl games with the hope of winning a spot once again on Maine Public Television’s Quiz Show. The HSQT finished in the top four among 15 other participating teams in last season’s Quiz Show, and they hope to participate again this year.

Although it is the team’s focus to display their intellectual prowess on public television, the real purpose of being an HSQT member is already in motion.

“We have become our own family of trusting and caring people who just happen also to love little-known facts and trivia,” Densmore said. “Being with these students is always fun and funny, and we enjoy each other's quirks and unique contributions.”<

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.