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This article was published 9/5/2019 (388 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The sky’s the limit for one group of bright students from River East Collegiate.
When Cherylene Kentner started teaching science at River East a few years ago, she noticed she had a group of students who were keen on trivia. She got the kids together, and pitched the idea of a trivia team.
Previously, when teaching in southwest Manitoba, Kentner had organized a Reach for the Top team to compete in regional and provincial competitions.
"When I came to Winnipeg, I wanted to get it going again," she said.
Created in 1961, Reach for the Top is a high school quiz competition that was broadcast on CBC for decades. Teams of four qualify for national rounds by competing in non-televised tournaments held at high schools throughout the school year, which are known as Schoolreach competitions.
"It’s fun to have a competition with intellectual things," Kentner said. "There are different types of questions and the subject matter can be any knowledge known to humanity. Questions are written at a national level, then distributed to a provincial co-ordinator, then to us as we’re having tournaments."
Each question is worth 10 points, and each game lasts approximately half an hour. Players practise during lunch hour, and study up on their topics of interest at home.
"I love trivia," said Lukas Sawatsky, a Grade 12 student with an interest in the humanities. "It’s a lot of fun."
Libby Hildebrandt, a Grade 12 student with an interest in pop culture and classical music, said her mom encouraged her to join the team.
"It was a fantastic decision on my part," she said.
Catherine Ramsay, who coaches the team along with Kentner, said it has been inspiring watching the team come together this year.
"They know each other’s strengths," she said. "They’re confident. That’s really been key."
This year, River East’s team qualified for the provincial tournament, which was held at Gray Academy on May 1. Admittedly, the team entered the tourney as underdogs.
"We weren’t really expecting much," team captain Matthew Kwiatkowski, a Grade 12 student with an interest in math and science, told The Herald. "We wanted to win one game, and we won five. They were really close games, we’d beat them by one or two questions."
The Kodiaks’ Cinderella run to the provincial championship fell short with a loss by two questions to St. John’s-Ravenscourt in the final. But their second-place finish earned them an invitation to the national competition, which takes place in Toronto May 24 to 27, something no River East team has done for decades. The first and last time River East won the national championship was in 1971, when Frank Bensics, Kathy Mulder, Ross Bradshaw, and Ken Devries represented the Kodiaks on the national stage.
And while this year’s squad would certainly like to rise above the other 15 schools competing for the trophy, they need to get to Toronto first.
"The cost is about $10,000 that we need to get together in a short time," Ramsay said. "It’s a little daunting."
Currently, the team is looking for any help they can get, and have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover their costs.For more information, or to contribute to the cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-river-east-quotreach-for-the-topquot
Donations can be made at River East Collegiate school office at 295 Sutton Ave.
Brian Seebalack, franchisee of the Booster Juice at 1C- 1439 Henderson Hwy, has also offered to set up a community drop box in Booster Juice, starting May 9, where people can drop off donations in support of the team.
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112
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Updated on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 3:00 PM CDT: This year's national competition takes place in Toronto May 24 to 27, not May 25 to 28. We regret the error.