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Whitesboro High School takes first place in ‘Double Down,’ WCNY’s academic game show

For the three members of the Whitesboro High School team that recently beat 31 other Central New York teams to win WCNY’s academic quiz show, winning was only part of the experience.

Seniors Kyle Cox and Ted Olney, and junior Megan Renz had a chance to show classmates and competitors alike that they had the smarts and poise to take the Double Down crown, a first for their school. The final match of the season-long show aired Sunday, May 19.

“When I got to school Monday, all of my classmates and teachers knew we won,” Renz said. “A lot of people watched the final match and now they’re interested in participating in Double Down.”

The competition show, which will begin its ninth season this fall, pits student teams against each other, challenging them to answer questions about math, science, history, sports, current events and literature. It also teaches team members to think on their feet under bright television lights.

“It was a great experience because it prepares you to act under pressure and talk in front of an audience,” Cox said.

For their efforts, the students each received a $100 Visa gift card, $1,000 for their school and, of course, the trophy and bragging rights.

“Not only does the show spotlight area high school students who are academic achievers, but it serves as a fun and educational tool for our younger viewers,” said Debbie Stack, WCNY’s director of education and community engagement.

The Whitesboro team was led by Ralph Greco, a science teacher at Whitesboro High School. This was the school’s sixth appearance on Double Down.

“The kids really love it and it’s been a great experience for them,” Greco said. “It’s also nice for students to have a different kind of outlet, different from sports or other clubs. It showcases their talents while showing other students it’s okay to be smart and have fun.”

Double Down featured students from throughout WCNY’s 19-county broadcast area: Bishop Ludden, Cato-Meridian, Christian Brothers Academy, Chittenango, Clinton, Cooperstown, Dolgeville, Fayetteville- Manlius, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, Ithaca, Jamesville-DeWitt, Jordan Elbridge, LaFayette, Manlius Pebble Hill, Mount Markham, New Hartford, Northern Onondaga, Nottingham, Oneida, Oriskany, Paul V. Moore, Port Byron, Pulaski, Rome Catholic, Solvay, Southern Cayuga, Union Springs, Vernon Verona Sherrill, Westhill, Westmoreland, Whitesboro and Whitney Point.

Schools looking to compete in next season’s show should send an e-mail to WCNY’s Education Department or call (315) 453-2424.

Major funding for Double Down is provided by BlueRock Energy with additional funding from The College of Saint Rose and Keuka College.

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