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More About As Schools Match Wits

As Schools Match Wits is an academic quiz show competition open to both public and private high schools throughout western New England (including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont), and is one of the longest-running shows of its kind in the nation. It showcases the best and brightest high school students that western New England has to offer, allowing them to shine in a venue which celebrates learning.

Each season schools go head to head in qualifying matches to see who can earn the most points. As Schools Match Wits accepts all schools who desire to compete and each year the roster is drawn up at random, pulling names “out of a hat” to see which teams will compete against each other. The highest-scoring teams of the season then compete in playoff matches to determine the season's champion.

The show is produced by both NEPM and Westfield State University, which provides the production facilities and student production crew. As it is an actual broadcast television production, the production of As Schools Match Wits is also a real-world learning environment for the Television Production students in WSU's Department of Communication. The show celebrates learning both in front of and behind the cameras!

Questions for As Schools Match Wits are written in part by WSU faculty and students in accordance with Massachusetts and Connecticut state high school curriculum guidelines.


Len Collamore, creator of As Schools Match Wits.
Len Collamore, creator of As Schools Match Wits.

Created by Leonard J. Collamore in 1961, As Schools Match Wits is a fast-paced academic competition featuring some of our area’s brightest high school students. Categories for the program have included literature, history, current events, sports, entertainment, art, music, science and general knowledge. A school must answer a qualifying question (which is worth no points) correctly to earn the right to answer questions and score points in the category. If the team fails to answer a qualifying question correctly, the opposing team gets a chance to steal the category. If the opposing team answers correctly, we say they have “capitalized.” The school with the higher score at the end of the match wins.

In recent years, lightning rounds have been added to the program — these are rapid-fire questions posed to both teams in a single subject or category. Teams must buzz in and answer for five points for each question; incorrect answers result in loss of five points. The team who buzzes in first on each question gets the opportunity to answer. There are two lightning rounds per match of 90 seconds each.

High school contestants with host Beth Ward in As Schools Match Wits.
High school contestants with host Beth Ward in As Schools Match Wits.

The most recent addition is the challenge round at the start of the match: questions are put forth to both teams for 10 points each, and whomever buzzes in first has an opportunity to answer.

If an incorrect answer is given, the opportunity defaults to the other team for a chance to answer. If the first team buzzes in before the question is finished, and cannot answer or answers incorrectly, then when the opportunity defaults to the other team, the question is repeated in its entirety for their benefit.

There is no point loss for incorrect answers in the challenge round, and questions are culled from the categories such as math and science, world events, arts and entertainment, and more.


From 1961 to 1969, a school had to win four consecutive matches to qualify for the playoffs. A champion was determined by a single-elimination tournament for the Fall season and for the spring season.

From 1970 to 2006, three consecutive wins were the requirement to make the playoffs. A single champion for the entire academic year was determined by a single-elimination tournament.

A trophy for As Schools Match Wits, known as the Collamore Cup.
A trophy for As Schools Match Wits, known as the Collamore Cup.

From 2007 on, it has been “all about the points”: teams are paired off against one another in qualifying matches to see who can gain the most points and win their match; the top eight highest-scoring teams from the whole season are then entered into the playoffs which consist of quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches.


There are six question categories:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Literature
  • Math & Science
  • General Knowledge (includes sports)
  • Social Studies (includes civics, geography, etc.)
  • World Events (history & current events)

Point values for each category: 15, 20, 25 and 30.