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Franklin Regional's quiz team makes it to Hi-Q semifinals

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Franklin Regional High School's quiz team has advanced to the semifinals of the Hometown Hi-Q playoffs.

After winning in the first round of the regional scholastic quiz show in an episode that aired over the weekend, the team — which is made up of seniors John Matthews, Eric Pierce and Roger Xue — now has a chance to compete for top honors. They and eight other teams will compete in shows that will be broadcast on KDKA-TV, Channel 2, in May and June.

Susan Sunseri, the team's coach and a gifted-support teacher at the high school, said this is the first time in a several years that a Franklin Regional team has advanced in the televised quiz competition.

“Of course, it's great in that it's fun, there's a sense of accomplishment, and there's obviously some recognition.”

But, she added, the prize money that finalists receive from sponsor Westfield Insurance can go a long way, too.

“The budgets are tight, like in all schools, so it's nice to have a little extra money to buy something the kids would like.”

When Franklin Regional has placed in the past, the school has used prize money for iPads and other technology, to bring in guest speakers and to cover the cost of student events, according to district officials.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac said everyone at the high school is excited for the team and wishing its members the best of luck.

“We are so proud of our students in all of the things that they pursued,” she said. “It's exciting to have them representing us through this program.”

Any Franklin Regional high school student can audition for the team. If selected, they go through a training period with Sunseri to review what she calls “not trivia, but things they have learned in class.”

Sunseri called participation in the show an interesting experience for her students.

“They get to showcase what they know and be on live TV. It's just a lot of fun.”

Julie Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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