The team from Willowridge High School narrowly beat one of three teams from Pretoria High School for Girls to grab first place with only a half point difference after 40 questions.
Girls High Team 3 was closely followed by the school’s Team 1 - again with a half point difference, guaranteeing these three teams a place in the regional final on September 1.
In a surprise move, quiz master and editor of the Pretoria News, Val Boje, announced that because the scores were so close - with fourth placed Pretoria Chinese School’s Team 1 again just half a point behind Girls High 1, this team would also progress to the next round.
The quiz kicked off at the beautiful property of the Maragon Mooikloof High School, with the first 13 teams participating. A second round will be held at Pretoria Boys High tomorrow.
There were five categories - politics, sport, current affairs, business and lifestyle/entertainment - with eight questions a round, all based on reports which appeared in the Pretoria News.
While some questions proved a walk in the park, with contestants hastily writing down the answers, others were more thought-provoking and there was intense debate around the team tables before the “time up” call was sounded.
Boje offered some hints and told a story or two to keep the mood light. Popular were the audience questions, where teachers were urged by their teams to try for spot prizes.
While the adjudicators tallied the scores, Boje went through the correct answers - with much joy as teams realised they had this question right, and frustration when they may have missed another.
But the final scores - with the top teams all with scores between 29 to 31 - showed the pupils had certainly done their homework.
Even for those who did not make it through the knock-out round, the quiz was fun, and everyone learnt something about the news.
After tomorrow’s event, a new batch of questions will be generated and more finalists selected to participate in the regionals before a grand national final.
The contest is part of the Independent Media National High School Quiz being run simultaneously with The Star in Joburg, the Daily News in Durban and the Cape Argus in Cape Town.
The national winner will take home the National High School Quiz title, R20000 for their school, R5000 for each team member and R5000 for their team coach.
There are also prizes for the runners-up, and a bursary for a deserving candidate.
Asked if there were tips for the next round, Boje said: “Relax and enjoy it you may not have all the answers, but you’ll be surprised what you know if you keep reading the Pretoria News.”
Look out in the days ahead for team photos in the Pretoria News, and online at www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news