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Plano Senior High eyes fifth WorldQuest victory
When it comes to the World Affairs Council's annual WorldQuest competition, Plano Senior High is a force to be reckoned with.
For the past four years, a team from the school has won the competition's regional round. The past two years, the region-winning team went on to secure the national championship in Washington, D.C.
On Wednesday, teams from the school will try for the campus' fifth regional victory -- and hopefully an eventual national three-peat -- when they go to this year's regional competition at the University of Texas at Arlington.
This year's WorldQuest will quiz teams of students on a dozen topics, including historical events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and current issues such as U.S. energy policy. Students from more than two dozen area high schools will participate in the regional event.
"It's very noisy when we first get there, because everyone's in a rush to cram as much information in as they can before the competition," said Christina Qiu, who competed at the regional level last year. "Then when it begins, it's like dead silent. You can hear a pin drop when they pull up the first slide."
Qiu's four-student team has been preparing for the competition since the summer, going over volumes of study material provided by the Word Affairs Council, doing practice tests and keeping up with and analyzing the news.
"Every year, there is one section called 'Current Events,' and that is very broad," Qiu said. "That topic is literally everything that happened in the past year with regard to current events, and we are in charge of finding those things on our own."
Also on the team is senior Ray Xia, who said he and his fellow students will not only compete against teams from other districts, but other Plano ISD campuses and even from their own school.
"At our region, it's really competitive, and the Plano West team is very strong, and they have just as much chance as we do in getting to nationals," he said. "So I would say they would be our main competition this year."
Tim Murray, European history teacher at Plano Senior High, said last year's regional victory edged out Plano West by one point, adding the Dallas region is the largest in the nation with about 85 teams.
"It's very exciting when we get to Washington, D.C.," he said. "... I personally know Washington, D.C. very, very well, so I give the kids wonderful tours of [the area] and we do a lot of studying there. It's a fun time."
For Xia, the most important part of the process is the preparation.
"I've always been interested in watching current events and learning about the world that we live in, and through WorldQuest you could get a very broad view of exactly what is happening at this time, and I really just enjoy staying informed," he said.
For information on WorldQuest and the Dallas Chapter of the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth, visit dfwworld.org.
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