“Hi-Q is not only a competitive representation of our individual abilities, but it also represents our school.” The sentiment of Academy Park High School (Sharon Hill, Pa.) student Jordan McGowan, echoed by teammate Amel White, describes Delco Hi-Q, the nation’s oldest, continuous academic quiz competition in which 21 Delaware County, Pa. high schools compete.
Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast President, John Cooke, also touts the attributes of Hi-Q. His support is such that despite his many responsibilities at the Philadelphia Archdiocesan high school, he volunteered to coach his school’s team this year.
Jay DeFruscio, Cooke’s friend and counterpart at rival Cardinal O’Hara High School, is also a fan of Hi-Q. “It’s [Hi-Q] the perfect forum by which our academically gifted students can showcase their talent,” DeFruscio said.
In addition to the opportunity for students and schools to exercise and promote academic prowess, the business community also finds Hi-Q attractive. After all, the program was started in 1948 by then Delaware County based Scott Paper Company. Within two decades, the company expanded Hi-Q to four other states where it had sub-headquarters. Not long after the paper company underwent an acquisition, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU) seized the opportunity to attach its brand to the academic sport and keep it running.
“We [FMFCU] felt it was vital that this academic program continue,” said Rick Durante, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility.
FMFCU funds and manages Delco Hi-Q and oversees the national program. Durante is Hi-Q’s national director. In 2017, Durante stepped in as quizmaster when actor Tom McCarthy retired after serving in that role for four decades.
“There are many places we could have put our money,” Durante said, “but this unique academic quiz competition has a tremendous impact on so many schools and students in our community. So, for us, the choice to invest was obvious.”
Intentional or not, the Credit Union carries out the beliefs of its namesake Ben Franklin, who famously said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” FMFCU has as its mantra, “leading with education.”
FMFCU is not the only credit union to attach its name to Hi-Q. In Mobile, Alabama, New Horizons Credit Union is a program sponsor.
Academy Park High School student Kiara Kidd said, “Programs like Hi-Q give us a platform to showcase our ability.” The experience Kidd, her teammates, and all Hi-Q participants realize is also recognized by other businesses, which have joined FMFCU in Pennsylvania, New Horizons in Alabama, and sponsors of the programs in Wisconsin and Washington State to support this commendable high school activity.
Hi-Q has been described as cerebral athletics. School auditoriums are the arenas. Each competitor’s intellect is the necessary equipment, and they spend months suiting up by reading, studying, and practicing with their teammates and coaches, commonly known as advisors. The more competitive schools field a bench of future players to study alongside and practice with the current team.
Each competition pits three schools against each other with the goal of amassing as many points as possible by answering questions correctly and preventing opponents from picking up bonus points. Competitions consist of a series of 16 questions of differing categories, including history, mathematics, current events, art history, and sports. Preparation involves more than simply knowing facts. Students have to prepare to answer under pressure because the questions are timed, making the quiz a challenge of brainpower, skill, and mental acuity. Each school competes in three regular season match-ups in an effort to accrue cumulative points. The teams with the most points advance to semi-final competition.