Veritas College from Springs, Ekurhuleni, erupted in jubilation when they were crowned Independent Media and IIE Varsity College's 2019 National High Schools Quiz champions.
The Veritas College team beat seven other teams from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria to take the top position and make their school proud in a fiercely contested final.
The winners were very closely followed by runners-up Crescent Girls' High School from Durban.
The National High School Quiz was hosted on Thursday at the Varsity College Sandton campus. The teams of four faced off and had 30 seconds to answer 10 questions from five categories: politics, sport, current affairs, business and entertainment.
The eight teams in the final were the winners annd runners-up in their regions where they were tested on their knowledge of topics published in Independent Media's newspapers The Star, Daily News, Pretoria News and Cape Argus.
The Veritas team was this year's winner of The Star High School Quiz and Crescent were the runners-up in The Daily News quiz.
In the national finals they were tested on stories published on IOL.
Veritas scored an impressive 48 out of 50 points in the competition and they ranked in the top eight schools out of the 267 schools that entered nationally.
Atang Makgata from Veritas said their ranking in the regional competition was a great achievement on its own: “The fact that we went on to be the champions is even greater."
During the announcement of the scores and the team rankings, Veritas were visibly emotional and attempted to conceal their excitement.
Makgata said: “We have come so far and to think we only made two silly mistakes. We honestly thought another school was going to come first. When they were announcing from eighth and then they got to third, we were thinking ‘Guys, did we actually win this?’ It was a very emotional moment for us.”
She said being in the winning team was the biggest achievement of her life.
Another team member, Remo Venturi, said: “We are the South African champions of the National High School Quiz and it is very profound.”
Team coach Patson Ngidi said after his team had won the regional competition, expectations were high for them to win.
“We had to remain focused and I told them to never take anything for granted and never be complacent. We were working and we went over so many possible questions and I am just happy for the learners,” he said.
The team took home a cheque for R20 000 for their school, each pupil and their coach pocketed R5 000 and they were each awarded certificates.
Crescent Girls' High School in Durban was the runner-up in the quiz. From left are Daily News editor Zoubair Ayob, Taabassum Kahan, Iihaam Kader, Faeeza Desai, Aaliyah Lockhat and their teacher OD Assaram. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi, African News Agency (ANA)
The final was a special day for Crescent's Tabassum Kahan, who celebrated her 17th birthday and flew on board an aircraft for the first time.
“We are so happy, and I know everybody wants the No 1 spot but we are so happy to have made it so far and this national and it's such an amazing achievement. I hope our school and KwaZulu-Natal is proud of us,” she said.
Crescent Girls’ High School didn't go empty handed. The runner-up team received R10 000 for their school and each team member and the coach got R2500.
The road to the National High School's quiz will be broadcast on eTV's Morning Show from 6.30am every Friday from September 6 to October 11.