Kimberly-Clark Hi-Q

Hi-Q is the oldest academic quiz competition in the United States, begun in 1948 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. It presently takes place as an intracounty competition in four different states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, and Alabama).

2007 is the 59th year of Hi-Q. 21 high school teams compete in Delaware County, PA. A $3000 prize is awarded to the first place school, $2500 to second place, and $2000 to third place.

Each team is composed of ten students. The competition covers 13 subject areas:
* Art History
* Biology
* Chemistry
* Current Events
* Geography
* Literature
* Mathematics
* Physics
* Shakespeare
* Sports
* U.S. Government
* U.S. History
* World History

Questions are selected from standard high school scholastic curricula, general scholastic knowledge, or from reference materials provided.

Each high school team competes in three matches each season, excluding possible semi-final and championship appearances. Each match consists of three competing teams. Each match is hosted by one of the participating teams competing in that match. Matches are typically held in the high school auditorium on stage, before an audience of students, teachers, faculty, and community members. Questions are read aloud by the Quizmaster, and at times team members use buzzers to answer questions.

Points awarded throughout the season accumulate and determine semi-final and championship entry eligibility.

Delco Hi-Q participants are honored at the annual "Partners in Education" dinner in May. Guest speakers have included celebrities such as Alex Trebek and John Allen Paulos.

History of Delco Hi-Q

Delco Hi-Q is the oldest continuous academic quiz competition in the United States. The Hi-Q academic competition began in Delaware County, PA as a community relations program of Scott Paper Company in 1948. Questions were designed to test the general knowledge that students received in the classroom. Over the years, new reference materials were added and students began to answer questions based on specific categories and reference works. Robert O. Johnson served as the first Quizmaster. During the early years of Hi-Q, contests were broadcast on radio station WPWA 1590.

Teams were initially composed of four students for each school; teams were subsequently expanded to six students and then to the current eight-member team. Drawn from three elements, SCOTT, High School, and I.Q., the program was known from the beginning as Scott’s Hi-Q.

The success of Scott’s Hi-Q in Delaware County led Scott Paper to introduce the program across the country. The competition expanded in 1976 to Washington state, in 1977 to Wisconsin/Michigan, in 1982 to Maine, in 1984 to Arkansas, and in 1987 to Alabama. Hi-Q competitions still take place in Washington, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Pennsylvania, each with different sponsoring organizations. In 1979, Tom McCarthy began his run as Quizmaster and remains in that role today.

After the merger of Scott Paper with Kimberly-Clark in 1997, the program was turned over to long time director, Donna Zerby. She partnered with the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce to provide stable funding for the program. Kimberly-Clark Corporation-Chester Operations became the primary corporate sponsor and the twenty-one area high schools began financially contributing to the program. Other sponsors and supporters began contributing. Donna Zerby also continued her involvement with Hi-Q on a national level, serving as an independent consultant to those locations.

After 59 seasons, Delco Hi-Q is still going strong thanks to a partnership between the education and business community. Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) and The Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber entered into a joint sponsorship agreement in 2004 to co-sponsor Delco Hi-Q. DCIU is responsible for providing a Quizmaster, Program Director, as well as the technical services needed to run and manage the program. The Foundation is responsible for soliciting contributions for the program, collecting entrance fees, administering funds, supplies, and conducts the annual awards ceremony. Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union joined Kimberly-Clark as a primary corporate sponsor in 2004 with an initial five year, $75,000 commitment.

The Partners in Education Celebration was started in 2005. What was once a luncheon honoring the three top teams, became a 600-person banquet honoring all of the Delco Hi-Q participants. The dinner is held annually and is presented by the Foundation and DCIU. Alex Trebek served as the guest speaker and 6ABC's Action News anchor Rick Williams was master of ceremonies for the first celebration.

DCIU and Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union started the Delco Hall of Honor in the same year. Its purpose is to honor past participants and supporters and to provide role models for current Hi-Q participants Another new tradition began in 2005, DCIU and FMFCU partnered with the Delaware County Daily Times to start the tradition of the All Delco Hi-Q Team. Donna Zerby was the first inductee into the Hall of Honor and considered it the greatest honor of her career.

After the passing of Donna in 2005, Ginger Beaumont agreed to serve as director for the 2005/06 season. Ginger had previously spent six years coordinating the Delaware County program under the direction of Mrs. Zerby. The 2005/06 season was dedicated in memory of Donna and her 42 year association with Hi-Q.

In 2006, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union signed an agreement with DCIU to provide question resources and Program Directors to Delco Hi-Q. Ginger Beaumont remained with Hi-Q and serves as Co-Director with Rick Durante of FMFCU.

The Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber and Delaware County Intermediate Union (DCIU) continue to co-sponsor Delco Hi-Q.

Marple Newtown High School has officially claimed the title of "dynasty" with wins from 2006 through 2008. The Donna Zerby trophy, created only in 2006, has been retired to the team in honor of their three consecutive wins.


* [ Hi-Q website]

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