WESTFIELD, MASS. — Two Berkshire high school teams will match wits next weekend in a quiz show competition broadcast on public television.
The two teams, Wahconah Regional High School and Mount Greylock Regional School, will spar on "As Schools Match Wits," airing on WGBY public television Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m., rebroadcast Sunday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. and available for subsequent online streaming.
The show pits teams of western New England high schoolers against each other in a fun, but competitive game of academic performance. The competition is open to both public and private high schools throughout western New England.
Each season, up to 50 schools go head-to-head in qualifying matches to see which team can earn the greatest number of points. The eight highest-scoring teams of the season then compete in playoff matches to determine the season's champion, which is then awarded the Collamore Cup, named for the show's creator.
Quiz shows like "As Schools Match Wits" represent an original type of "reality television." Everyday people play a game testing their everyday knowledge — and viewers play along. The program adds a unique characteristic: local teen contestants from area high schools.
Host Beth Ward says the value of the show is multifaceted.
"Year after year, these teens never fail to impress me," Ward said. "We've had some dramatic competitions and tough questions. I hear from viewers all the time who remember one school or another. 'As Schools Match Wits' is a local treasure. I'm honored to be starting up a new season."
"As Schools Match Wits" is a collaborative production of WGBY and Westfield State University. Produced using Westfield State's facilities, students in the Department of Communications serve as the production crew. WGBY supplies the professional producer, broadcast, marketing, and technical support.
Broadcast weekly during the school year on WGBY, questions are written by longtime prgram writer and judge Todd Rovelli along with the university's faculty and students in accordance with Massachusetts and Connecticut state high school curriculum guidelines.
Mark St. Jean of Westfield's Department of Communication and WGBY's Tony Dunne are the executive producers.
For Dunne, the 58th season felt like homecoming.
"After 12 years of co-production with Westfield State University, every fall feels like putting on comfortable pair of jeans," Dunne quips. "We've built a great team behind the scenes who have been working together for years and are all highly professional and dedicated."
WGBY (wgby.org) is a community-supported public broadcasting organization that offers national PBS programming and locally produced content on four digital television channels, video on demand, podcasting, and streaming video. WGBY is available over the air on digital Channel 57-1 and on cable at Comcast 857, Time Warner 1807, Charter 782.
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