The Scholastic Games radio quiz, heard weekly on WEOL (AM 930), hosted a historically high-scoring academic contest between neighboring high schools this week. It was a 490-400 win for Avon High, not only the highest winning score of the year, but possibly the highest losing score in the program’s 27-year history for runner-up Avon Lake. The broadcast of Monday, March 13th, was the next to last of the season’s first round of competitions, to be followed by eliminations leading up to the championship broadcast in May. Avon won last year’s top honors, and both schools have had championship-winning teams in past years.
The winning team consisted of Bree Collins, Sam Gerak, and team captain Alex Stamatis, who earned the program’s “Standout Scholar Award,” a weekly $50 prize given to the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team. His older brother, Nick, who graduated last year, had been a multiple winner of the award. Avon Lake’s team was Irwin Deng, Alex Petroff and team captain Connor McNeill.
Avon ended the first round with a perfect 50-point score, only a ten-point lead over their opponents, who came back and held the lead through much of the contest. Avon Lake tallied a perfect score in the usually-challenging Current Events Round, entering the third round with a ten-point lead and increasing it in the Theme Round, which consisted of questions about wonders of the world. It brought the score to 160 to 130 in Avon Lake’s favor.
The fourth round is a multi-clue affair in which a correct answer to the first clue yields fifty points and a final clue provides only ten, with intermediate scoring possibilities in between. Every item in the round was answered correctly, allowing both teams to pile up points. Petroff scored 50 for Avon Lake with his knowledge about President Woodrow Wilson. Stamatis scored 50 from the first clue about Oedipus Rex. Both teams added 10-pointers for clues about Oklahoma and the Earl of Sandwich, then Avon’s Stamatis advanced his team to within 10 points with a 20-point score for knowing events of 1967. With nearly identical scores entering the highest-scoring final round, both teams added a lot of points, but Avon’s scores were more frequent, landing the victory. The Avon Lake team will return as a “wild card” by virtue of its score, higher than most of this year’s winning scores, so either team could “go all the way!”
After next week, a total of sixteen of Lorain County’s public and private high schools will have competed, and only playoffs will remain. The program, sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lorain County with foundation support, will be heard most Monday evenings (6:05 to 7 p.m.) with two schools in competition each week. The schedule of broadcasts is below.
The teams are guided by faculty advisors. Mr. Todd Sayers is the advisor for Avon High and Mr. Mike Kaminski and Mr. Ryan Smylie serve as co-advisors to the Avon Lake team. Continuing a 26-year tradition, each participating school will receive a $1000 tuition credit to be given to a deserving student that will attend an area college or university. Many additional credits are awarded to schools as they compete and win in playoffs. Contributing institutions include Lorain County Community, Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio Wesleyan, Oberlin College, Ursuline College, Ashland University, Case Western Reserve, Heidelberg, John Carroll, Notre Dame College of Ohio, and Tiffin University, many of which have participated in this program for a number of years.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS ON WEOL (AM 930):
MONDAYS, 6:06 p.m. (except when sports games delay the quiz to Tuesday, same time)
3/20 Firelands vs. Olmsted Falls
3/27 First Quarterfinal – high-scoring winning teams return: Amherst vs. Midview
4/3 Qualifying Playoff: winning team advances to quarterfinals (teams TBA)
4/10 “Wildcard” playoff: highest-scoring runner-ups: Avon Lake vs. a team to be announced; the winning team advances to quarterfinals
4/17 through May: Remaining elimination Playoffs & Championship
Scholastic Games, on WEOL radio since 1990, is presented on the station by the Elyria Public Library System. Production of the program is made possible by funding from Nordson Corporation, the Nord Family Foundation, the Community West Foundation, and the following funds administered by the Community Foundation of Lorain County: the William J. and Flora Hearn Durling Fund, the Dorothy and Elizabeth King Memorial Charitable Fund, and the Miraldi and Barrett Fund. The Elyria Public Library System and the Elyria Days Inn provide recording venues, and following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com offer the programs as “podcasts.”
A member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Akron and Cleveland, the program’s producer, Jim Mehrling, is a veteran northeast Ohio broadcaster. After seven years as Chief Announcer at WEOL, he was Production Manager at Cleveland’s WERE-AM for over a decade, and has for over twenty years been with Cleveland’s WCLV-FM, now a part of Ideastream public broadcasting. Again this year, most Scholastic Games programs will be followed by a talk feature, “Dialogues in Education,” which presents education success stories with its host, award-winning journalist Bob Tayek.