Baldwin’s Hometown High Q team reaches playoffs


Jared Hoffman

The Hometown High Q team participates in the first round of the competition.

Ava Bell and Ethan Stock

Baldwin’s Hometown High Q team has advanced to the playoffs of the televised academic competition.

Baldwin’s team is made up of seniors Jacob Gallagher, Jayden Wisniewski, and Timothy Book.

“I’m excited about it,” Wisniewski said. “It’s going to be more fun (than the first round).” 

Hometown High Q is a local academic competition held by KDKA each year. Each episode has  three-student teams from three different schools answering a variety of academic questions. 

The televised program, which is in its 24th season, had to end in-person episode taping due to Covid. Now the competitions are pre-recorded through Zoom meetings.

Gifted teacher Jared Hoffman began coaching Baldwin’s High Q team in 2015 and said this is the first Baldwin team to reach the playoffs since then. The Baldwin team defeated Ringgold and Greater Latrobe to advance.

“I’m really excited that this team is the first team to go to the playoffs (in several years),” Hoffman said. “They have a lot of potential and very strong memories, so they could potentially go very far.”

Gallagher said the playoff dates and teams are undecided, but he expects the playoffs to start by December. 

Gallagher and Book both participated on the Hometown High Q team last year. For Wisniewski, it is his first year. 

The team is “going in pretty confident” for the playoffs. “All our knowledge came from knowing how the competition worked last year,” Gallagher said. 

The team does practice, including working with buzzers to increase their answering speed and working on academic questions. But with so much academic content out there, success often depends on how much the team members already know.

“It’s just going into it and having knowledge,” Gallagher said.

Even with the team’s confidence, the competition provided some challenges.

“One of the questions we actually fumbled on was a math question, which was: 10 divided by 11 is equal to 100 divided by X. Find the value of X,” Gallagher said. 

The team answered with 121. The correct answer is 110.

One reason for the win in the first round was the team’s use of strategy.

Since the other two schools had taped earlier, “we knew their point totals beforehand,” Gallagher said. “So going into the last round we got the six questions right” and then chose to not guess on a final question to avoid getting it wrong.

“The question we stalled on, no one knew the answer to,” Book said.