Names: Graham Starr, Kerem Tokel, Matt McCue, Kyle Dontoh, Paul Grunert
Grades: 11 and 12
School: Mahwah High School
Whiz Kids’ Accomplishments: Five students from Mahwah High School were lucky enough to be chosen by academic advisor, Pat Mennella, to compete on “The Challenge” a televised Jeopardy-style academic quiz show that pits High School students from the tri-state area against each other. After a series of elimination rounds the top team wins a grand prize of $10,000 in prize money for their school.
Mennella chose the team by administering a timed quiz to approximately 20 students who wanted to try out. The top scorers were picked to participate. Mennella explains the effort put in for this program.
“We practice after school for an hour everyday going over old Jeopardy shows, trivial pursuit kind of things, anything that we can get our hands on to keep asking questions. To find out what our strengths and weaknesses are.”
She says even determining a “fastest finger” is crucial being that contestants are locked out of a round if they buzz in before the question is finished.
These are not only intelligent kids but talented in a number of fields from sports to debate to engineering says Mennella.
Mahwah High School’s episode of “The Challenge” can be seen on Thursday March 17 at 5:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity (Cablevision’s iO TV – Channel 14).
The students competing are:
Kerem Tokel, a senior, is in the Drama Club, the Marching Band and the Jazz Ensemble.
Graham Starr, a senior, is a commended student in the National Merit Club. He is also in the Drama Club, the Math League, the National Honor Society, the Philosophy club, the Rocketry Club, Robotics, the Science Club and the Young Politicians Club.
Matt McCue, another senior, is also a National Merit commended student, a varsity football player, a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and a member of REBEL.
Paul Grunert, a senior as well, is part of the Student Council.
Kyle Dontoh, the only junior on the team, is a member of the Current Events Club, a Model United Nations member and part of the Young Politicians Club.