KINGSTON, Jamaica — Imagine a spelling bee, but with questions about math, Bible verses, and Jamaican proverbs. Now, imagine that everyone in the entire country is watching you.
Even that doesn’t quite do “School’s Challenge Quiz” justice, but it’s a start.
SCQ is the longest running TV show in Jamaica, and people take it very seriously: a few years back, a scoring dispute between two schools went all the way up to the Supreme Court.
For the spectators, it’s all about bragging rights. This year, hundreds of people showed up outside the studio wearing the school colors of their alma mater, as legendary boys’ high school Kingston College and cross-town underdogs St Jago High faced off in the finals.
The students also want to make their classmates, and alumni, proud. But a win is also a chance at a scholarship — and for some, it could be a rare opportunity to attend college.
VICE News went to Kingston to watch students from both schools prepare — and see just how heated the real competition gets.
This segment originally aired May 10, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.