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ELCA team in High Q semi-final round

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Esmat Hanano pounced on a question, during the third round of WSB-TV, Channel 2's High Q competition. The confident 17-year-old figured he was one of few contestants who knew the answer.

He was right.

And his correct retort earned him MVP status in the eyes of his quiz-team coach.

Hanano recalled that, on the morning of the competition, he was in the car with his Syrian-born father, enroute to school, when his dad turned to him and told him about a story he heard on the Al Jazeera Television Network.

The story involved an Egyptian couple naming their newborn child, "Facebook," in honor of the role online social media played in the Egyptian revolution this year.

Hanano passed it off as just another interesting story of democracy born in the Middle East, until he was asked to recall the incident that evening, during the High Q competition.

By responding expertly, he helped propel the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (ELCA) team to victory, over an Apalachee High School team of scholars from Winder, Ga.

High Q is a question-and-answer game show that appears weekly on WSB-TV, Channel 2. The show, which features scholastic competition between high schools in north Georgia, is now in its 25th year.

"I don't remember much," said Hanano. "The first time ... it was pretty nerve-racking, looking back."

Hanano, who sat out the first two rounds of the contest, plans to compete in the team's semi-final bout scheduled to air March 19, at 1:30 p.m. He will join team captain, Max Wallace, and teammates, Josh Ekstedt, Kiefer Wirt, and Taylor Echols. The team, in previous rounds, has included students, Hailey Bae, Cole Carrera, and Denver Burton, who is also Henry County's 2011 STAR Student.

"We have the best, intellectually, that this school has to offer," said quiz-team coach, Don Moseley.

Moseley teaches advanced placement government, and economics, at the small, private, Christian school in McDonough. He said he finds time between classes, and meets with students about once a week, to help guide the team members in quiz preparations.

He said he believes his team can compete with any team in the state, and has held its own, on the game show, against much larger schools.

Moseley said the team is set to go up against Walton High School in Marietta, this week. Walton, he added, has a student body of more than 2,300 pupils. ELCA's high school student enrollment is 320.

"[Walton] they've defeated college teams," declared Moseley.

"So, we have our work cut out for us," interjected Hanano, the team's youngest player, at 17. He said he has learned, in the short while he has participated in the competitions, how to be resilient, and to keep trying.

"I think last round we were down every [series of questions]," said Hanano. "But we all have equal talents, and try to contribute equally."

"It demonstrates character to not give up, and to keep your focus, when you're down," added coach, Moseley. "Max [Wallace] and Josh [Ekstedt] are our team's best, but Esmat was our MVP that last round."