SJP’s High School Quiz Show Team will be on TV

Below is a student-written article featured in the latest issue of The Tie, Saint Joseph Prep Boston's student newspaper.

By Brenna Daly '23

LEARNING COMMONS — SJP has a trivia team that participates in GBH’s Super Sunday event each year to audition for the televised High School Quiz Show competition.  This year, SJP’s HSQS team has really stepped it up: they have made it to the top 15 out of 65 teams from across Massachusetts that were at the Super Sunday auditions on November 6. This means they will be moving on to a HSQS tournament that will be on television, with their first match against North Quincy in January (on TV March 4). 

Because of their success this year, we interviewed the team so that SJP can learn more about the HSQS team and truly appreciate their achievements. Here are some of just three of the team members’ responses to our questions: 

The TIE: What is the best part of being on the HSQS team?

Patrick Duffy ‘24: “The best part about being on HSQS is probably the team meeting every Thursday, as we get close to 20 kids up in the LC just doing trivia making it fun for everyone up there, whether you know all the answers or don’t know any of them. Everyone is always excited to go to these meetings every week, as for many it is just a time of the day to decompress and have fun.” 

Katelyn Murphy ‘24: “For me the best part is working together with all the other teammates. We each have different skills and areas we know a lot more information about so we all have to work together.”

Lukas Binggeli ‘24: “Being on the HSQS team allows me to show off all the random information that I have learned, both in school and on my own. I have always loved memorizing things such as the capitals of the world, the periodic table, Super Bowl winners, etc., so participating in this trivia-focused club is a natural fit for me.”

The TIE: What did it take for the team to qualify to be on TV?

Patrick Duffy ‘24: “It took a lot of teamwork to qualify for the competition, as we were able to put together our different areas of knowledge in order to answer all of the questions. We each were able to answer a good number of questions, ones for which other team members may have had no idea what the answer would be. So overall I’d say it was just being able to put our heads together and think about a question in order to answer it correctly.”

Katelyn Murphy ‘24: “We all had to take a 50 question test in a room on Super Sunday and there were 15 teams who scored with the highest points.”

Lukas Binggeli ‘24: “To qualify for the show, we had to enter the Super Sunday competition and achieve a top-15 score on a 50 question test. Our intelligence, team balance, and ability to work together allowed us to do well. Each of us had categories that we were strong in, and when someone was unsure of an answer, we all came together to brainstorm and narrow down possible answers.” 

The TIE: What does it take to be a good HSQS team member? How much prep do you guys have to do before competitions?

Patrick Duffy ‘24: “To be a good HSQS member doesn’t mean that you have to know every piece of trivia that exists on the planet, but to rather focus on an area that you have extensive knowledge in and then expand that knowledge, as the combined knowledge with your teammates will bring you a long way. We don’t have too much prep before competitions, considering we only get about 30 minutes a week to meet, but the preparation is mostly just learning new things and expanding your field of knowledge in any area.” 

Katelyn Murphy ‘24: “We would meet every Thursday and play various trivia games (like Kahoot, Free Rice and Jeopardy) focusing on different trivia topics.” 

Lukas Binggeli ‘24: “I think a love for learning and a strong associative memory are necessary to do well on HSQS. Obviously someone participating in a competition that tests knowledge should enjoy learning, and an associative memory (essentially being able to use connections between words or phrases to quickly think of answers) allows you to maintain information and recall it more quickly. We have 30 minute meetings once a week, but outside of that I didn’t spend much time preparing specifically for the Super Sunday competition. Now in preparation for being on the show, I am watching previous HSQS episodes and researching new information in my free time.” 

The TIE: How do your competitions work? 

Patrick Duffy ‘24: “Every year, there is Super Sunday at WGBH, where 65 teams from around the state take a 50-problem test (10 sections, 5 questions each), consisting of geography, math, literature, pop culture, etc. The top 15 teams make it to the playoff bracket, while the 16th team and a random team that has never made it into the competition before face off in a wild-card match. Our team was lucky enough to make it into these top 15 teams, where we will be facing North Quincy (champions from last year) in January, and then our episode will be released on March 4th on WGBH.” 

Lukas Binggeli ‘24: “On the show, a single competition consists of 4 rounds each with essentially the same goal: to buzz in as quickly as possible and say the correct answer to each question. Unlike on Super Sunday, where points were awarded for all correct answers, the HSQS show only gives points to the team that correctly answers first. Here is an example episode. The tournament is a 16-team, March Madness-style bracket with one team coming out on top.” 

The TIE: How does it feel to be on the first SJP HSQS team to be in the top 15 out of 65 teams? What are your hopes going forward?

Patrick Duffy ‘24: “It feels awesome to be on the first SJP HSQS team to make it to the competition, and I definitely feel proud to be a part of this team, because I know how much effort all of my teammates and everyone have put into getting this far. Our hope going forward is currently just to beat North Quincy, which will be a tough fight as they are the champions from the last season, however, I am confident we can put up a good fight against them and ultimately win.” 

Katelyn Murphy ‘24: “It is really shocking. Very unexpected. My hopes going forward is we continue to try our best!”

Lukas Binggeli ‘24: “It feels really cool and fulfilling to be on one of the top HSQS teams in the entire state. Of course, I want to perform well and advance through the bracket, but more than anything I hope that we get SJP’s name out there and show that despite our small size, we are more than capable of competing with Massachusetts’ highest-ranked schools. I am also looking forward to seeing future HSQS teams from SJP continue to build on our success.” 

SJP is very lucky and very proud to have such a successful HSQS Team. We wish them luck for their competition in January, and be on the lookout for their episode on WGBH on March 4th!