Monroe students pull Hi-Q season out of jeopardy

MONROE — There will be a Hi-Q competition this school year.

The high school quiz competition focusing on math, Shakespeare and current events has been saved by Monroe High School students, but with some changes.

Instead of a longer season, there will only be two regular matches and a championship match. There will also be less material for teams to study.

The program had been managed by the Everett Community College, but was discontinued in May because of costs — $40,000 per year — and fewer schools have been participating.

To save Hi-Q, six Monroe students and their coach created a business plan and sought financial support from local businesses. While they have yet to land any sponsorships, their efforts turned up enough school teams to make Hi-Q competitive.

“The fact that we organized this was monumental, even though we are high school students,” junior Eric Grewal said. “If we can work together, I am certain we can bring Hi-Q to full operation.”

Competing in Hi-Q this year are Monroe, Meadowdale, Stanwood, Henry M. Jackson, Lynnwood and Archbishop Murphy high schools.

At this point, the competition will be run by volunteers. Schools would pay an $200 entrance fee to help cover transportation costs. EvCC would lend the equipment.

The matches could be held as early as in February, but there are no specific dates because other schools can still form teams and join in, Grewal said.

The group used Facebook to spread their message and to enlist other schools.

Saving the program for this school year is a big achievement, but students will not be able to keep it going on their own forever, said David Korkowski, a retired Monroe teacher who was also Hi-Q coach between 1977 and 2005. He is also volunteering to transport the equipment and currently working in modifying the reference list, which is the content the participants are asked on.

The Hi-Q program was designed to be held during school assemblies in front of an audience. That format costs money, because you need at least three staff for every match, he said.

“It really needs major sponsor support,” he said. “The chances for finding one are much greater if the program is alive than if the program is suspended.”

EvCC could reinstate the program next school year, but for now, the Hi-Q program is being run by the Monroe students, said Amy Hammons, the college’s coordinator of high school relations.

“We offered to buy the questions (from the national Hi-Q headquarters) and lend the equipment,” she said. “We are giving the support they may need.”

Now that schools know there will be a season, the focus is on getting ready to compete, Monroe High sophomore Cassandra Engvall said.

“We have everything we need. Now, it’s about studying,” she said.

There still will be time to look for sponsors and recruit students to ensure the program continues, she said. The students believes a sponsor can be found because the Hi-Q is about promoting education. And they demonstrated that students want the program to continue.

“We are not going to let it go,” Grewal said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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