Students Reach for the Top

by Leo Marchand, Grade 12 student

What could be better than a chance to test your knowledge of everything from physics to pop culture in an intense, head-to-head battle against students from all over the province? The only answer, of course, is that same chance plus a free trip to Vancouver with your friends! For the last three years, the school Reach for the Top team has provided me with this experience, and the practices on Fridays at lunch always serve as a great start to the weekend.

The format of any standard Reach for the Top game is pretty simple; two teams of four players armed with buzzers try to answer a wide range of trivia questions correctly, and are rewarded with 10 points per question if they’re right. This isn’t “Jeopardy,” so you can forget any “What is…” responses or losing points for wrong answers. Occasionally some curveballs come along like team questions, chainsnappers (a series of related questions), or the infamous shootout, where each player on a team has to answer a question correctly for their team to receive any points. At the end of the game, whichever team has the most points takes the game, and the glory.

A few weeks ago, Will Jevne, Claire Jackson, Nic Klak, Ian Kapron-King, Celina Santilli-Giza, Kieran Hyatt and I set off for Vancouver to compete in our provincial tournament. Under the fearless leadership of Mr. Jackson, we were able to finish the round-robin seeding tournament in third place, behind powerhouses Churchill and St. George’s. After a short dinner break, we moved on to the knockout tournament, and made it to the quarterfinals where we faced Kitsilano. The game was hotly contested, and at the end of the match, the score was dead even. In the world of Reach for the Top, that means sudden-death tiebreaker questions. Unfortunately, Kitsilano’s resident Rubik’s Cube champion and Reach for the Top star was quicker on the buzzer, and our competition came to an end.

All-in-all, we were all very pleased with our result. Since this is my last year with the team, though, I have a few messages for future reachers for the top. Firstly, tam o’shanters greatly increase trivia skill. Secondly, questions about mythical creatures must be answered in a booming basso voice. And lastly, if you don’t know the answer but you’ve already buzzed in, always say “Peter Gardiner.” Here’s hoping SMUS becomes the provincial champion school in 2011!

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