A team of five Ramsey High School students says it takes teamwork and practice to prepare for The Challenge, a TV game show for teenage students that airs on MSG Varsity.
The team took on competitors from Hawthorne High School in an episode that’s set to air next week.
To practice, the group is part of the High School Network, which allows it to compete against trivia teams from other local schools, and gives students an opportunity to sharpen their skills, and learn to work as a team.
“We are a part of the Quiz Bowl [club at school], so we meet one or two times a week, compete against other schools, and practice different trivia categories," team captain Alex Zammitti said. “For this, we met to practice the exact style questions we’d be asked on The Challenge to prepare.”
The Ramsey episode, which the team filmed on Nov. 14, will air next Thursday, Dec. 27. For the taping, the team – made up of students Zammitti, Derek Nelson, Kate Diamond, Kevin Sroczynski and alternate Spencer Lambert – traveled to the MSG Varsity studio in NYC.
On the show, a new pair of opponents face off every week. Teams from the tri-state area compete in first-round episodes for the next few months. Winning teams are invited back to face other winning teams, and elimination rounds continue until Regional Champions are crowned. Each champ picks up $2,500 for the team’s school. The show’s ultimate winner takes home $10K in prizes and $500 for each participant.
The Challenge is hosted by American Idol semifinalist Jared Cotter, who tests teams on their history, arts and literature, current events, math, and science knowledge in front of a live studio audience.
According to a release from the game show, 192 schools will be competing this season. For the team from Ramsey, the first round alone was an exciting experience.
“It was fascinating to see a TV show from the other side,” Diamond said.
“We were definitely asked questions in interesting categories,” Lambert said. “And we had great fans.” A group of Ramsey students went to the studio to watch the taping and root for their classmates.
“They had face paint, signs, and noisemakers, and were going nuts in the audience to support us.”
According to the team’s advisor, Margaret Schilling-White, an RHS teacher, this is the third time Ramsey has competed in The Challenge, which uses a lottery system to determine which districts compete every year.
One of this year’s competitors, Kevin Sroczynski, said for him, competing is carrying on a family tradition.
“Both of my brothers were on Quiz Bowl, and one of my brothers competed on The Challenge three years ago,” he said. “Plus, I always liked the idea of being on TV.”
Schilling-White said she is proud of her students’ performance on the show.
“They all gave a really positive effort, worked well as a team, and were thrilled to be a part of it.”
But, the team is tight-lipped about how it fares against Hawthorne. To find out if Ramsey wins, tune in to The Challenge Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. on Cablevision’s Optimum, Channel 14.