Scholastic Games Archived radio high school quiz programs

January 26, 2021

01 News Release: Jan. 26-Clearview-Keystone

Filed under: — admin @ 4:09 pm


Contact: Jim Mehrling 440-234-6021



The Scholastic Games radio quiz, which has long presented academic teams from Lorain County high schools, begins a most unusual series of weekly programs on WEOL (AM 930) on Monday January 26th as Clearview and Keystone high school teams competed at home on their computers.

Producer Jim Mehrling has hosted the series since 1990 from venues at hotels, colleges, and the Elyria Public Library, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic dictated a change in plans and a revision in format.  “There were many factors to investigate,” he explains, “from how many of the schools are actually open, are they permitting extra-curriculars, do they have an academic team, and will a program like ours even work on a platform like ‘Zoom.'”  With the curtailment of student activities, Mehrling was surprised at the eagerness of some that something be devised, so he made it happen.

The first program of the series was broadcast on WEOL on Monday, January 25th, and the team from Lorain’s Clearview High School managed a 270 to 140 point victory over competitors from Lagrange’s Keystone High.  The winning team consisted of captain Caitlin McComas, Holly Mariner, and Sophia Calez, who won the program’s weekly “Standout Scholar” award which is given to the student who contributes the most to his or her team.  The honor includes a $50 cash award.  The Keystone team consisted of team captain Serena Owens, Noah Weaver, and Tristan Magel

The students on their computer screens; Calez is far left, center.

The first two rounds of questions were virtually identical to the program’s “in-person” format.  The “Initial Round” (first, and with all answers beginning with the same letter) ended with a 30 to 10 lead by Keystone, a margin which the team maintained after both teams did equally well in a strong Current Events round, entering the third round with a 70 to 50 score. 

The third and fifth rounds, in the online format, replaced buzzing in with questions assigned to alternating teams.  The quicker team advantage was lost, but a greater-knowledge advantage was advanced, as unanswered or incorrectly answered questions in these rounds were offered up for scoring by the competing team.  The theme for round three was “Add a letter, change the meaning,” in which two definitions were read and teams had to name word pairs such as Slav and slave, or slim and slime.  The Keystone team increased its lead in this round to a 110 to 70 advantage, but Clearview turned the tables in Round Four.

Round Four is a multi-clue series in which a correct answer to a first clue yields fifty points, with diminishing point values for additional clues, ending with a final clue worth ten points.  The first response in this round, under the revised “physically distanced” format, is determined by a team member calling out the name of the team.  If the answer offered is incorrect, the other team receives the remaining clues and a chance to score. 

Clues about the state of North Carolina yielded 30 points for Clearview’s McComas, followed by 20 points for Keystone when Weaver identified Winston Churchill.  Weaver added another 10 points when he scored from clues about Louis Braille’s raised-dot system of reading for the blind.. Then Calez scored 20 points for Clearview by naming author James Baldwin.  A 40-point clue to identify a country led Keystone’s Weaver to answer Rome, the city, which was ruled incorrect, followed by a correct answer of Italy from Calez, to take 40 points and claim the lead for Clearview.

The fourth round ended with a 160 to 140 advantage for Clearview. Advancing to the final, longest round with the most scoring potential, the Clearview team maintained its lead, adding considerably to its score, to achieve the win.

Scholastic Games began in the fall of 1990 with the support of Nordson Corporation and has continued on radio station WEOL during every school year since.  The format, originally developed for a Cleveland program in the 1980s, has changed little in the run of the show, though the questions are continually updated.  Often compared to WEWS television’s Academic Challenge program, Scholastic Games has actually run without interruption for a longer period, and its focus on greater Lorain County has provided more opportunities for local schools to compete.  Following broadcast, and offer the programs as “podcasts,” which make the programs available on the World Wide Web.   

Through the years, all public and private high schools have been invited to compete.  Here is the balance of the first round schedule, with programs running between 6 and 7 p.m. on Mondays, to be followed by playoff rounds.

2/1   Avon Lake (defending champion) vs. Oberlin

2/8   Midview vs. Elyria High

2/15  Sheffield Brookside vs. Olmsted Falls

2/22  Avon vs. North Ridgeville

3/1    Amherst vs. Lake Ridge Academy

3/8  through May: Return matches, Playoffs & Championship

In some weeks, live sports coverage will delay the quiz to Tuesday, same time.  This may affect some of the dates. Also, when scheduling permits, many programs will be repeated on Friday nights.)

The season will conclude in May with the broadcast’s  annual county championship.  Over the years, twelve different schools have won the championships, including Amherst Steele (1991, 2015), Elyria (1992, 93, 94, 97, 2000), Admiral King (1995, 1998), Oberlin (1996), North Ridgeville (1999, 2002), Avon Lake (2001, 05, 20),  Midview (2003), Keystone (2004), Lake Ridge Acad. (2006, 10), Vermilion (2007, 08), Avon (2009, 16, 17,19), Olmsted Falls (2011, 12, 13, 14, 18).

The program has enjoyed long-term support from Nordson Corporation and various funds of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, the Nord Family Foundation and the Community West Foundation.   The philanthropic fund supporting the program this year is the Alfred T. Askew Fund.  The Elyria Public Library System has been sponsoring the program on WEOL and providing venue space for program sessions for several years. 

Area colleges and universities participate by providing $1000 tuition credit awards for allocation by participating high schools.  Participating for all or most of the program’s thirty-year history were Lorain County Community College, Oberlin College, Ursuline College, Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Heidelberg University, and John Carroll University, with more recent additional awards from the University of Findlay, Lake Erie College, Tiffin University and Notre Dame College of Ohio.  .

A member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Akron and Cleveland, the program’s host and producer, Jim Mehrling, is a veteran northeast Ohio broadcaster.  After seven years as Chief Announcer at WEOL, he was Production Manager at Cleveland’s WERE-AM for over a decade, and filled a similar role with Cleveland’s  WCLV-FM for over 25 years.  He is recipient of a 2019 President’s Award from the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters.  Again this year, most Scholastic Games programs will be followed by a talk feature, “Dialogues in Education,” which presents education success stories with its host, award-winning journalist Bob Tayek.



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