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H olyoke High School took home the trophy for the 2014-15 academic year as the champion of the long-running public
television quiz show “As Schools Match Wits.”
The fast-paced championship match ended after
four lightning rounds against five-time champion
Longmeadow High School.
“Neither a playoff match nor a championship
match’s outcome has ever been determined by
overtime lightning rounds before; it’s a first in the
show’s history,” said WGBY-TV producer Tony
The MTA is a sponsor of the academic game
show, which has been on the air for 54 years.
Similar in format to “Jeopardy,” the program
pitted 48 high schools — most of them located in
Western Massachusetts — against one another over a
Although the championship round was taped in
March, it didn’t air until June 20 — and contestants
were sworn to secrecy regarding the outcome.
Educators said the timing of the victory has
provided a new source of pride for Holyoke, which
has been reeling since a state takeover of the city’s
public schools in April.
“It’s amazing how proud the entire city of
Holyoke is over this victory,” said Kate Hebert, a
Holyoke High School English teacher. She coached
the team along with music teacher Mark Todd and
social studies teacher Kevin Bechard. All three are
members of the Holyoke Teachers Association.
“The victory was a real shot in the arm for
the entire city,” said Todd. “People stopped the
team members everywhere they went this summer,
thanking them for what they did for the city.”
The team included Nick Edwards, a senior;
Brendan Kelly, a senior and valedictorian of the
Class of 2015; Emma Price, a junior; and Patrick
Morrison, a freshman. Alternates were Maggie
Brady, a junior; Joey Cavanaugh, a freshman; and
Eric Pasternak, a senior.
Hebert said that as stressful as the competitions
could be, “we tried to keep the practices low key.”
“We’d just get together with some snacks, play
trivia and laugh a lot,” she said.
The championship match can be viewed at
Holyoke High School’s
“As Schools Match
Wits” victory was
described as “a real
shot in the arm
for the entire city.”
Pictured from left to
right are coach Kate
Eric Pasternak; team
Price, Nick Edwards,
Brendan Kelly and
Patrick Morrison; and
coaches Kevin Bechard
and Mark Todd. The
MTA is a sponsor of the
academic game show.
Photo courtesy of WGBY
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