WA to compete on High School Quiz Show

The team after they took the qualifying test.

By Tim DeLouchrey
Sports Liasion

Grab your popcorn and put on your thinking caps – High School Quiz Show is just around the corner, and this year they will be featuring Westford Academy as one of their teams.

High School Quiz Show is a TV show on WGBH hosted by Billy Costa that features sixteen high schools in a bracket-style tournament. Each school sends a team of four students to compete in a Jeopardy-esque competition in which the moderator will ask a question, and the first student to buzz in gets to share his/her answer. A correct answer results in a point, and if the answer is incorrect, the others students are given a chance to answer.

WA will be going to WGBH Studios in Boston to film on January 25th, but the show does not premiere until February 8th. The studios, along with the team, strongly encourage a live audience during filming. WA students are urged to cheer on their peers at the first filming. Whether one wants to paint their face and cheer at the top of their lungs, or observe quietly, all are welcome to come.

Schools in the area, such as Lincoln-Sudbury and WA rival Acton-Boxboro have participated on the show in the past. The show has all of its episodes online. For example,  Lincoln-Sudbury versus North Andover can be viewed here.

The team consists of three seniors and one freshman who will be representing WA: Nathan Beningson, Rohan Rastogi, Aditya Datye, and Nihar Sheth. Junior Sameera Ayyagari will be an alternate as well. The five are part of a beta-club that studies for the show. The club has been around for three years now, but this is the first time they have qualified for the show.

The club was started by Rastogi, as he had previously been a fan of the show. He contacted the producers of the show in order to obtain information on how to get his school involved. From there, he learned he needed a group of students of at least four, and an administrator. He originally contacted Mr. Goldberg, who helped him get the program started, but following Mr. Goldberg’s relocation, Mr. Welch took over the club. They have come a long way since then.

“Our goal this year was to make the televised show, we came really close last year,” said Beningson.

Despite making the tournament for the first time this year, the team feels confident that they will be competitive and perform well.

“I absolutely think we will do well,” said Welch. “Based on the bracket, I think we qualified somewhere in the middle.”

For their first time qualifying, the middle of the bracket is a great success. The team has been training and practicing together for years, so it makes sense that their hard work is paying off.

WA isn’t the only team working hard, however. According to the team, other schools practice every single day of the week. There is an extremely high amount of material to be covered, which is why teams have to practice so often.

“One way we prepare is we watch past episodes of High School Quiz Show to see what the questions will be,” said Rastogi.

The club is still technically a pilot club due to the low amount of members and recent creation, so it could be difficult to continue as strong as they are now.

“We’ll have tryouts in years to come to help continue the club,” said Benningson.

The team hopes that after it goes on the show, the club will gain publicity and others will have a desire to join.

“Hopefully it can become a team atmosphere, like a math team or science team,” said Welch.