West Shamokin Students Compete at Hometown High Q

West Shamokin Jr/Sr High School students (L-R Evan Marino, Yorich Poole, and Bret Lundgren) competed on KDKA’s Hometown High Q Quiz Show which will air this September. Here, they pose for a photo with Show Host and KDKA-TV2 Morning News Host Rick Dayton. (Courtesy of West Shamokin High School)

by Sarah Steighner and Jonathan Weaver

Some of West Shamokin High School’s brightest and most ambitious students not only make up the school’s Quiz Bowl team but also recently participated in KDKA-TV2’s regional game show “Hometown High Q.”

Under the guidance of librarian and Quiz Bowl adviser Patricia Yamrick, Junior Yorich Poole, Freshman Evan Marino and Sophomore Bret Lundgren competed May 9 at the game show studio.

Students competed against University High School (of Morgantown, WV) and Moniteau Junior-Senior High School (Butler County).

After coming in 4th place at the Indiana County Academic League Quiz Bowl finals this past fall, Marino presented the idea of competing on “Hometown High Q” to his fellow teammates.

Aside from the West Shamokin Quiz Bowl members hailing from the school’s enrichment program, each individual’s trivia knowledge in different categories seems to complement each other and help them succeed. Categories in which students were quizzed on ranged from literature, music and art to ancient history and science (though Yamrick believed the group problem solving questions were her team’s favorite).

“It’s all about learning to compete under pressure. The more they compete the more confident they will get,” Yamrick said.

While about five students make up the junior varsity Quiz Bowl team, and six students represent the varsity team, only three students had the opportunity to compete at the “Hometown High Q” competition.

Poole admitted that a general love of trivia is what got him and his friends interested in joining the team. He credited trivia games and “Jeopardy” as sources of trivia motivation and knowledge.

Poole further discussed his road to “Hometown High Q.”

“It was sort of a last minute thing – we didn’t know we were competing until a few weeks beforehand so we had categories we were suppose to study and even had a review session answering trivia questions with Yamrick after school,” said Poole.

Poole’s determination and intelligence is not only seen in his presence on the Quiz Bowl team, but also in his career goal to eventually be a family doctor after graduating from high school and attending college.

Lundgren, 16, who aside from being on the Quiz Bowl team is heavily involved in sports such as golf, volleyball, and basketball.

He plans on joining the LEO club next year as well as continuing to compete with on the West Shamokin Quiz Bowl team -hopefully helping them succeed in his favorite categories such as math and science.

Lundgren described the many benefits that he believed he got from competing in Quiz Bowl competitions.

“It gives us a great opportunity to go out and compete and share our knowledge and use it,” Poole said.

Lundgren is considering pursuing his interest in majoring in Biomedical Engineering while in college.

West Shamokin not only plans having a Quiz Bowl team again next year, but they are set to host one of the competitions.

West Shamokin Junior-Senior High School competes in the Indiana County Academic League – consisting of multiple schools in the region that compete against each other in Quiz Bowl competitions. The Rural Valley school has students part of both a junior varsity and varsity team.

These teams went to two competitions this school year, and both made it to the Finals that took place at the Rustic Lodge in Indiana, Pa.

Each competition featured around ten different schools competing against each other.

KDKA-TV Morning News Anchor and “Hometown High Q” Host Rick Dayton (originally of Grove City) said questions for each episode are based broadly on what students are learning in school (becoming more challenging in the playoff rounds) and that the game encourages lifelong learning.

“It’s not always simply a matter of who has the smartest kids, because if you would take these questions and put them down on paper and have (students) answer like a test, (all teams) would probably do very, very well,” Dayton said. “When you put them on camera in a television studio where they have buzzers they have to ring in when they think they know, it adds a different dynamic than simply who knows the material and who doesn’t – they probably all know the material. It’s a question of which one is bold enough to ring in, realizing if they’re wrong they lose the points.”

Dayton’s oldest son, Steve – now a freshman at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio -, nearly was a contestant on “Hometown High Q before graduating from Hampton High School (Allison Park, Pa.) in 2014. Dayton wishes he could have competed on the show as well.

“I would have loved to have been able to compete in a program like this because, for kids who are competitive, highly-driven and spend a lot of time in those books, it’s a great way to show just how well-prepared they are as they go off to college,” Dayton said. “It’s just remarkable the things that they know and the depth of knowledge that they have about so many different subjects.”

While neither Dayton nor the students could disclose West Shamokin’s specific episode results, Lundgren said the winning team was not decided until the final question.

More than 80 schools participate each season

Promotions Manager Dan Braddock said the episode will air at 11AM September 19 as the premiere of the 17th season.

Students outside the T.V. studio. (Courtesy of West Shamokin High School)