Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

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Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

Post by abbybolich »

Hello. I am writing a paper for my English class about academic competitions in PA for the high school level. I am asking who judges/who is quizmaster for the local, regional, and state levels of competition. Are they coaches of schools participating or officials assigned by the coordinators of the competition? Thank you.

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Re: Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

Post by alexdz »

Hi! I'm a person in Pennsylvania who sometimes works in this capacity. Most people in this community usually call this position a "moderator."

One thing you should know is that there are different types of competition in Pennsylvania. The most common you'll encounter from people on this message board is called quizbowl. There's not one central organization that runs all the events; rather, schools license questions to use and host tournaments on their own. (However, many are qualifiers for national tournaments hosted by PACE and NAQT.) Because of this, individual schools recruit moderators in a variety of ways. Most folks, like me, are former competitors who have stayed involved and volunteer to help out. Some are players who play college quizbowl in the area, others are current/former coaches. In any case, it's usually a volunteer job and a way for us to give back to the community.

There are also competitions organized by central organizations, such as the Hi-Q competition, which have different policies for recruiting their staff. I'm not familiar with them, so I'll let someone else tackle that answer.
Alex Dzurick
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
Coach, Harcum College (PA)
Former midwesterner (South Callaway - Mizzou - UIUC) coping with life on the east coast.
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Re: Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

Post by Mike Bentley »

Fun historical fact: In the days before smartphones, we used to bring textbooks to the Chester County league tournaments for the not infrequent protest based on an outright factual error in a question. Not that pointing out a clear error always was enough to win a protest...
Mike Bentley
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Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
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Everything in the Whole Wide World
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Re: Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

Post by Everything in the Whole Wide World »

To build on Alex's post, local competitions are of two types: Intermediate Unit Tournaments and TV tournaments. Pennsylvania's 29 intermediate units, which run all sorts of competitions and para-education support for schools in their region, each run and set their own rules. Most of the moderators for these are IU employees or retired volunteers. As each IU has its own rules, it can vary a little; some have multiple moderators, some have one. The winners of these local competitions meet at a state tournament (PSAC), and the moderators there are the same ones as the Chester County IU moderators, as a result of some Harrisburg-level politics.

A good portion of PA also has some kind of televised quizbowl, based around TV markets (specifically Pittsburgh, Northeast PA, the Lehigh Valley, and South-Central PA around Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg have TV tournaments). There's been a variety of hosts for this. Some have been local university faculty, some are just hired employees of the studio, and even the Jeopardy! champion Brad Rutter hosted one at one point.

Alex does a good job at covering the Saturday Invitational circuit. These are all-comers tournaments, so they're not tied to a locality the way the IU or TV tournaments are. The moderator pool is several alumni that volunteer, more experienced coaches, local college students, and in some cases high school students from the host team who are not playing. Each tournament director is in charge of soliciting staff, but we share contacts with each other and most hosts are familiar with the regulars. Feel free to get in contact with me or any of the other circuit moderators if you need more information, we're glad to help!
Ben Herman
Henderson High School (2007-2011) [West Chester, PA]
University of Delaware (2011-2015)
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Re: Judges (Quizmasters) for High School Academic Competitions in Pennsylvania

Post by bmccauley »

As a PA coach in Chester County and a person who played non-pyramidal in Schuylkill County before that, I will say that Alex & Ben gave a great overview. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. I can give some insight into the areas Alex & Ben describe, as well as some information on rural PA (particularly Eastern PA). More than willing to help if you have questions.
Bernard McCauley
Coach, Great Valley High School (PA)
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