By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “It’s one of those things that ‘Oh, I wish I could be there’ and now it’s finally here. It’s great.”

That is the feeling of Upper St. Clair High School senior Ben Wucher about being on a team that will compete on the 500th episode of KDKA’s Hometown High-Q academic quiz show.

The other two members of his team can’t wait for their moment in the High-Q sun.

“I have been watching this show for a long time, like every Saturday morning,” says teammate Chenghao Yang. “I always play along to see where I am compared to the other people.”

High-Q hit the KDKA airwaves in 2000.

Three students from three different schools compete each Saturday morning at 11 a.m..

KDKA-TV news anchor Ken Rice was the host and held that role for 11 years. KDKA-TV morning anchor Rick Dayton took over and is now in his second season behind the podium.

Students are asked a variety of questions from history to science, pop culture to physics, experience from year one taught Upper St. Clair’s coach Pat Pazalozzolo that her team needs to know it all.

“We ended up with very few points (that first year) because they didn’t know history, they didn’t know literature, so I began to realize this really is coaching. You really do need to put your team together because they really do function as a team and they need to cover each other’s and complement each other’s knowledge,” Pazalozzolo said.

One of the biggest challenges for the contestants is knowing how soon to ring the buzzer when they think they know the correct answer.

Garret Liebel, a junior on Upper St. Clair’s team, is always thinking about the buzzer.

“That’s the challenge. You have to make sure you know the question, but you don’t want to buzz in before. You could have the wrong answer even though you know something about the first part of the question,” Liebel said.

Despite how much the kids know, there are always a few butterflies about being on television.

“Hands shaking just a little bit, but that’s fun,” Wucher said. “You sort of gather in that energy and make the questions all the easier to just come and do next one after another.”

USC watches old episodes of High-Q to prepare and the students on the Upper St. Clair team are very excited about being on the 500th episode of Hometown High-Q.

KDKA is thrilled to share 500 episodes of a show that highlights some of western Pennsylvania’s best and brightest young men and women.


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