Walpole Worldquest Squad Places 16th In National Competition


Phil Reidy

The Quad-Squad stands in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Worldquest is, for all intents and purposes, a sport. While conventional sports take a show of physical strength and agility, Worldquest is a demonstration of intellect and memory. It’s a proving ground for all those prospective world-changers and future leaders needing to break into the world of international affairs. For Walpole High seniors Jungbin Lim, Kevin Delaney, Ross Bubly, and Jake Kelsey, this rigorous gauntlet presented a worthy challenge, but the Walpole quad-squad persevered, making it to 16th place in the national competition.

I guess I should first explain what Worldquest is. High schools around the country send one or two teams to the competition. The teams are posed factual questions on those run-of-the-mill softball topics like French legal decisions in the year 2011:

1. In April 2011, France became the first country in Europe to impose the following restriction:

A) Forbid entry to Tunisian immigrants into France

B) Ban the wearing of full veils in public

C) Prohibit smoking in shopping malls

D) Outlaw drinking wine in the evening

(The answer is B.)

The competition, as seen above, is rigorous. It’s no place for the faint of heart. Answers come to mind, pencils fly and fill in the bubble, all in a desperate silent struggle for the Worldquest Championship.

Lim, a member of the Worldquest squad, attends the Agora club, a weekly meeting for students interested in current events, philosophy, and politics. Having attended the meetings myself for some time, I can say it’s surprising, and very refreshing, to see high school students with such an extensive knowledge and genuine concern for the topics they cover. Worldquest, I’d say, is the logical next step at a high school where such a large portion of the student body is so politically active.

A year ago, after a meeting of the Agora club, Mr. Thomas Morris, the head of the history department at Walpole High School, brought in a little white pamphlet to Lim. “He told me about this competition that he thought I’d be interested in, and I was pretty interested. I read the pamphlet, and researched the entire competition after that. It looked awesome” said Lim.

So Lim gathered his best men (who are also his best friends) and began the arduous preparation for their first knock at Worldquest. I know Jungbin, Jake, Kevin, and Ross personally, so when I noticed that they had suddenly begun to gather often and late into the wee hours of the night doing some mentally-trying task , I was a little concerned. After realizing it was all in preparation for their competition, and not the planning of some coup d’etat (as would be expected of these passionate ideologues), my worries were put to rest (for the moment). And so they went on to the preliminary Massachusetts competition, placed first out of 16 teams, and eventually went on to the national competition, placing third out of 44 nationally.

The competition is organized by the different schools present at the event. Students are sat down at tables with their teams, and an announcer poses questions to each group. This year’s squad prepared for the competition by specializing in different categories such as energy, education, and diplomacy.

This year, chaperoned by history and economics teacher Mr. Jeffrey Szymanski, the team would make its way to the nationals as they placed first in Massachusetts once again, and then went on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. and placed 16th.

The American Legion sponsored the team to stay an additional day so they could visit the different attractions around D.C., including the National Zoo and the Aeronautics Museum. Much KFC was consumed, I was told by quad-squad member Kevin Delaney. The team met with Senator Elizabeth Warren upon arriving in D.C., and sat in on the House as Congress debated the sequester to address air traffic controller furloughing.

After the competition, they returned to high school, and the four are going off to college next year. Kevin Delaney is going to Umass Dartmouth; Ross Buble to University of Vermont; Jungbin Lim to Rice University, and Jake Kelsey to Umass Amherst. Needless to say, I’m confident they’ll succeed.

This article used information given in WPS Good News’ article “2013 Academic Worldquest National Competition”.