TORONTO - The five members of the city high school civics challenge team said they are in it to win it during the West Liberty University Civic Challenge, which began Feb. 24 and concludes with the championship round Friday.
The team of five students, which includes Mariah Turner, junior; Grant Scott, junior; John Rodesh, junior; Stephanie Calabrese, senior; and Devin Coil, junior, advanced to the finals by defeating Magnolia High School of New Martinsville, W.Va., 268- 108 on March 30. This was after previously beating River High School of Hannibal, Ohio, 276-50 March 28; and Steubenville High School 178-48 on Feb. 24. Team members said they're pumped up with advancing so far in the challenge and ready for more.
The challenges are scored by team members answering correctly questions on an array of subjects and topics in two, seven-minute rounds. The pace is lightning quick, and members said they were prepared for advancement after the first initial win over Steubenville.
"I think the questions were a lot harder last time," said Rodesh. "There were a lot of questions about presidential history."
Members took the time to study past, taped episodes online of each round, and that prepared them well for the coming rounds.
"It's a really great study tool because then we have all the questions and answers right there," said Calabrese.
Members said their secret weapon includes each student having a specialty on each topic, including Rodesh being knowledgeable about presidential history; Scott specializing in Civil War and general knowledge; Calabrese whip-smart about literature and inventions; Coil on sports history and state nicknames; and Turner on current events.
"I know the nitty-gritty stuff," said Scott.
"Last year we were knocked out in the second round," said Rodesh, adding the team wasn't as motivated as it is in this year's challenge. "This year we definitely want to win."
The grand prizes include individual, $1,000 scholarships to West Liberty, while second-place finishers earn individual $500 scholarships to the university, said Rodesh.
"We won't know who we face (in the final round) until that morning," Rodesh added.
The team is confident members' winning attitudes puts them in a good position to emerge the winners.
"It's surprising how much of a difference that attitude makes," said Calabrese.