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'High School Quiz Show' returns Saturday; Notable guests test students

Posted by Katie McLeod  February 6, 2014 06:19 PM

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Season five of "High School Quiz Show" premieres Saturday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. on WGBH 2. During the season, teams from 16 Massachusetts public high schools will vie to become the state champion. The academic tournament show, hosted by Billy Costa, aligns with the state's high school curriculum standards across various subjects, plus current events and general knowledge.

The Emmy and Parents’ Choice Award-winning show will feature notable guests, such as famed "Jeopardy!" winner Ken Jennings, who will kick off the season this Saturday, Medford native and TV personality Maria Menounos, Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Deval Patrick, and Olympian Hannah Kearney. Each guest asks the students a question in different episodes, and we have a few clips to share, courtesy of WGBH.

For fun, you can even play along here by guessing what you think is the right answer once you watch each video, and you will then find the correct answers at the bottom of this post to check your work.

1. Ken Jennings:

Q: Hi, I’m Ken Jennings. I’m an author and software engineer, but most people know me for my 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy! Here’s my question: In 2011, I was defeated on Jeopardy! by an IBM supercomputer named Watson. In 1997, Russian chess master Garry Kasparov was defeated by what IBM chess-playing computer?

2. Hannah Kearney:

Q: Hi, I’m Hannah Kearney. I won a gold medal in mogul skiing at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and I’m competing this year in Sochi, Russia. Here’s my question: The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion of what country in the Middle East?

3. Mayor Marty Walsh:

Q: Hi, I’m Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston. Here’s my question: In the first half of the 20th century, Boston politics were dominated by what Irish-American politician who was so popular that he was re-elected mayor while serving time in prison?

4. Governor Deval Patrick:

Q: Hello, I’m Deval Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Here’s my question: The Massachusetts State House dates from 1789 and is one of the oldest buildings in Beacon Hill. The original dome was made of wood and overlaid with copper by what prominent Boston silversmith and patriot?

Here's the list of participating schools this season, which includes four new to the tournament, a past champion, and another school that has been part of the "Sweet Sixteen" for all five seasons:

  • Acton-Boxborough High School
  • Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School
  • Arlington High School
  • Chelmsford High School
  • Dartmouth High School
  • Dover-Sherborn High School (first time in tournament)
  • Hingham High School (fifth time in tournament)
  • Lexington High School
  • Longmeadow High School (season one state champion)
  • Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
  • Nantucket High School (first time in tournament)
  • Newton North High School (first time in tournament)
  • Rockport High School
  • Sharon High School
  • Somerville High School
  • Westford Academy (first time in tournament)

The team matchups and corresponding first-round episode premiere dates follow. All episodes premiere Saturdays at 6 p.m. on WGBH 2. Viewers can also download the official tournament bracket.

  • Advanced Math & Science vs. Mystic Valley: Feb. 8
  • Dover-Sherborn vs. Lexington: Feb. 15
  • Chelmsford vs. Rockport: Feb. 22
  • Westford Academy vs. Newton North: March 1
  • Nantucket vs. Somerville: March 8
  • Sharon vs. Hingham: March 15
  • Longmeadow vs. Acton-Boxborough: March 22
  • Dartmouth vs. Arlington: March 29

"High School Quiz Show: Baseball Edition" will air Saturday, April 5, at 6 p.m., timed with Red Sox opening day at Fenway.

If you're a fan, you can also participate by following the show in real time on your iPad, laptop, or smartphone. Check out the site on mobile at this link.

Do you watch the show? Which school(s) are you rooting for this season?

(Correct answers to the questions above: 1. Deep Blue; 2. Afghanistan; 3. James Michael Curley; 4. Paul Revere)

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Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

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