John Wood Community College and WGEM Launch 29th Season of Academic Challenge

John Wood Community College and WGEM Launch 29th Season of Academic Challenge

Macomb and Palmyra High Schools to Compete in Quarterfinal Match on WGEM Feb. 2

John Wood Community College and WGEM will launch the 29th season of the Academic Challenge Quiz Bowl Tournament on Saturday, February 2, with the competition’s first match between Macomb High School and Palmyra High School airing at 6:30 p.m. on WGEM NBC. 

The match will be rebroadcast on Sunday, February 3, at 9:00 p.m. on WGEM FOX and again at 10:30 p.m. on WGEM NBC. In addition, the match will air on WGEM FM News Talk 105.1 Saturday, February 2 at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 3 at 7:00 a.m.

The WGEM Academic Challenge features 16 schools from the tri-state region competing in 15 matches.  Seven contests will be broadcast, including the championship match.  Matches will air on WGEM NBC, WGEM FOX and WGEM FM News Talk 105.1.  The tournament is scheduled to air through March 17. The broadcast schedule for the other quarterfinal matches includes February 9 and 10, Illini West High School versus Clark County High School; February 16 and 17, Clopton High School versus Scotland County High School; and February 23 and 24 Quincy Notre Dame High School versus Bushnell-Prarie High School.

The host of this year’s tournament is WGEM Sports Director Tony Cornish Jr.  The series is co-sponsored by John Wood Community College and WGEM-TV. 

Members of the Macomb team include: Clara Barclay, Richard Engel, Henry Jones, Samantha Mattsey, Stan Melkumian and Kerem Tasdan. The Macomb team is coached by Suellyn Rieckelman.

Palmyra team members include: Mason Mitchell, Evan Nierman, Trevor Stratton, Chase Goldinger and Tim Wellman. The Palmyra team is coached by Gretta Stark.

Judges for the 2019 challenge include JWCC faculty members Melissa Knapp, assistant professor of mathematics; Mike Terry, chair and professor of language, literature and humanities; and Dr. Randy Wolfmeyer, assistant professor of engineering. The series is under the direction of Shawn Dickerman, marketing manager at WGEM.  

Schools participating include:



Bushnell-Prairie City High School
Central High School (Camp Point)
Illini West High School
Macomb High School
Payson Seymour High School
Quincy Notre Dame High School
Quincy Senior High School
Unity High School (Mendon)


Central Lee High School (Donnellson)


Clark County R-1 High School (Kahoka)
Clopton High School Pike Co. R-III (Eolia)
Hannibal High School
Knox County R-1 High School (Edina)
North Shelby High School (Shelbyville)

Palmyra High School
Scotland County R-1 High School (Memphis)

John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees and certificates and personal enrichment courses.

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