Saturday, 26 January 2019

FANTASTIC 50: TV-J takes the Schools’ Challenge Quiz celebration to Emancipation Park

FINAL SCORE: Participants in the Celebrity Quiz Challenge sharing a post-match photo-op; (above) Yvonne Chin interviews Claire Grant.

A milestone like the golden anniversary of a landmark product is worth a parade. Television Jamaica (TV-J) couldn’t be more proud of the fact that Schools’ Challenge Quiz has hit the 50-year mark, making it the longest-running educational programme of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. Unsurprisingly, they’re taking the show on the road.

On Thursday, the station’s management and the show’s production crew took over the Emancipation Park in New Kingston, transforming it into a hub of electric excitement, as fans and past quizzies and loyal sponsors (Tru Juice, Kingston Bookshop, Digicel) came together in celebration of brain power! 

Quizmistress Yvonne Chin was a gracious hostess, conducting interviews with, among others, General Manager Claire Grant and J. Michael Gonzales, the showrunner who’s had the unenviable task of researching and writing the questions and coordinating the matches for over 20 years. 

Special congratulatory messages, viewed on the jumbo-sized screens, came from PM Andrew Holness, Dr. Peter Phillips and Senator Ruel Reid.

A celebrity quiz challenge kicked the excitement up a notch. The match featured The Wise Guys (Wesley ‘Burgerman’ Burger, Alaine, Jodi-Ann Quarrie and Jordan Forte) going up against The Bright Sparks (Archibald Gordon, Debbie Bissoon, Sheldon Shepherd and Clyde McKenzie). In the end, quizmaster Jean-Paul Menou announced that The Wise Guys had eked out a narrow victory over opponents who put up a tough challenge. (No scorekeeper had been engaged for the encounter.)

Meanwhile, Kevin Downswell was also on the scene, and a well-received performance by the gospel star brought the curtains down.

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