Our local students are getting ready to buzz in.

Madawaska Valley will be well represented when playoff action starts at the Reach For the Top competition taking place in Pembroke on Thursday. The contest features teams of 4-6 members from the region’s high schools. Teams then compete in a match where their general knowledge is tested. Topics can range from pop culture to geography or history to name a few.

Matthew Sullivan, a grade 12 student at Madawaska Valley District High School (MVDHS) and member of the school’s team says they will most likely finish in second place overall this season, which is impressive.

He says that every match is divided into two sections. Only 4 members of a team can play at once, and members can be changed at the halfway point. He adds that a typical game follows a certain pattern. Geographical questions are in the first half and the math questions are in the second half which can allow teams to strategically place certain team members behind the buzzer, depending on their strong points. The host then asks a question and then teams can buzz in and earn points. For his part, Sullivan half-jokingly says his specialty is “random things that you shouldn’t have any business knowing”.

This is Sullivan’s second year on the team and he says that last year’s team didn’t make the playoffs. “This year we’re doing a lot better, we lost against our rivals last year and we beat them this year” he says before boasting MVDHS’s junior team who are looking really good too.

Sullivan says Thursday’s playoffs will be recorded to air on local television and will also be accessible online. The show “The New Valley Reach” is hosted by Gary Serviss and made available on YourTV and online at some point as well.

The winning team will then move on to the next level of the competition which is a multi-day event held in Toronto with the province’s brightest and best teams. Although Sullivan doesn’t want the team to get ahead of themselves he says that making it to Toronto and winning it would be the best case scenario.