Quest celebrates high school students from across Kansas, KTWU to broadcast program

Travis Perry

Starting Feb. 5, KTWU will begin the airing of the quiz competition Quest (formerly High Q). Open to all high school teams across the state, it offers the chance for students to clash in a battle of wits. While in previous years it has been televised by WIBW, the acquisition of it by KTWU means not only a new station, but a facelift for the shows set and processes.

The final 16 contestants made it through a “Super Saturday” in November where they competed in a pool of 88 teams. Each team was questioned individually, and final scores were compiled to come up with the top 16.

“The competition is very tough, both because there are so many teams and because there are so many really good teams,” said Ron Wasserstein, vice president of academic affairs. The last 16 teams will be competing in a head-to-head, single elimination playoff system, with the final round being taped Saturday, Jan. 28.

Since its creation Quest has offered students an outlet for their knowledgeable achievements, but it does so much more than that, specifically for the university.

“Certainly one goal is to celebrate talented academic teams from around the state of Kansas and to provide them with a venue to show off their intellectual ability. The second goal certainly is to bring people to campus, to make them aware of the facilities on campus and especially at KTWU,” said Donna LaLonde, dean of the honors program, who has been overseeing the entire process of taping the program.

A goal for Quest is that the topics on the show will inspire new additions and innovations to high school curriculums across the state, as well as the possible inception of a competition field for younger students.

While it has not been televised since the beginning, Quest has been on Washburn’s campus for the last two decades. WIBW originally decided to televise it to give the competition a greater audience, mainly because outside the boundaries of the contest there are few who know of it.

Following the end of last year’s competition, WIBW decided that it could no longer financially support Quest, and that’s when KTWU decided to pick up the orphaned program and give it a new spark.

“It was just an excellent opportunity to re-do the show, and add some new features to the show, including updating the set and introducing some of the technology that’s now possible, that just a few years ago wasn’t,” said LaLonde.

One example of that new technology is the creation of an online game that allows viewers to compete in an alternative quiz-competition to the broadcast.

Players can go to to participate. They will compete against each other by answering Quest-like questions, and the top scores will be judged each week to decide the winners.

Once broadcasting commences, not only will it be aired over KTWU in Topeka, but also on the PBS affiliate in Wichita.

“We really are trying to think that the sky’s the limit,” said Lalonde. “I think minimum we’ll sustain the enthusiasm for having the show. I think it’s going to be fun.”