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Arlington, Lakewood Hi-Q teams gear up for another season of academic competition

Arlington High School Hi-Q faculty advisors Jane Joselow, left, and Ben Mendro, right, flank team members (front row from left) Hannah Mendro, Madeleine Fries and Kyle Kilmer, and (back row from left) Janey Foxe, Robert Kephart and James Piscioneri. Not pictured are AHS Hi-Q team members Spencer Lajoie and Frederick Stabell. - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington High School Hi-Q faculty advisors Jane Joselow, left, and Ben Mendro, right, flank team members (front row from left) Hannah Mendro, Madeleine Fries and Kyle Kilmer, and (back row from left) Janey Foxe, Robert Kephart and James Piscioneri. Not pictured are AHS Hi-Q team members Spencer Lajoie and Frederick Stabell.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

EVERETT — The Arlington and Lakewood high school Hi-Q teams will once again be testing their intellectual mettle, against each other and 11 other Snohomish and Island county high school teams, during the 36th year of the region-wide academic competition run locally by Everett Community College.

While the Arlington High School Hi-Q team, which has won Hi-Q six times since the competition started in 1976, is still looking to bounce back from its third-place finish in 2010, the Lakewood High School Hi-Q team has yet to win its first Hi-Q trophy.

In each competition, three local high school teams will face off by answering questions from 13 categories, and points will be accumulated throughout the three-month-long season to determine which teams will advance to the 2012 Hi-Q championship play-offs.

While a few members of each of the two schools' teams have their own academic specialties — Arlington High School's Robert Kephart in math, Kyle Kilmer in Shakespeare and Spencer Lajoie in sports, and Lakewood High School's Ryan Whitehead in math and Lauren Burch in history and literature — both sets of students echoed Burch's assessment that no one student should be indispensable in any subject, given the breadth of material with which all the Hi-Q team members need to be familiar.

"You have to show up every day ready to work hard and remember," said Hannah Mendro, a member of the AHS Hi-Q team and daughter of Ben Mendro, one of that team's two faculty advisors.

"You try and overlap your studies with your teammates," Burch said. "Last year, it was really difficult because I was having to read up on all these subjects that I hadn't had classes on yet."

"You can never be totally prepared for a competition," said Jane Joselow, the other faculty advisor for the AHS Hi-Q team.

Despite the long hours of studying on their own time, both sets of students described the challenge of Hi-Q as fun. Like Hannah Mendro, LHS Hi-Q team members Michaela Boyd and Sara Newman appreciate the familial sense of fellowship that they've developed with their teammates. Newman also agreed with Mendro and Kilmer that preparing for the competitions has made her more well-rounded academically and personally.

"I really love learning random things," Newman said. "Plus, it gives me something to do during the off-season for sports."

LHS Hi-Q faculty advisors Jeff Sowards and Mike Fellows agreed that Hi-Q students demonstrate how exceptional they are by their willingness to take on the extra work required to prepare for Hi-Q competitions.

"We're very lucky to work with some neat, sharp kids," Fellows said. "Some students do the minimum to get certain grades, but these kids are pushing themselves."

The AHS Hi-Q team will host the Feb. 14 competition, and compete again on March 9. The LHS Hi-Q team will host the Feb. 28 competition, and compete again on March 12.

For more information about Hi-Q and its 2012 season, log onto www.everettcc.edu/hiq or call Everett Community College High School Relations Coordinator Amy Hammons at 425-388-9073.

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