Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
THE RED carpet was rolled out at the Mona Preparatory School in St Andrew yesterday for the winners of this year's staging of the Television Jamaica Junior Schools' Challenge Quiz competition.
In addition to the red-carpet treatment, the team of Lee-San Gayle, Jon-Rhys Waite and twin brothers Jevon and Jamar Ivey was greeted with howls of congratulations from parents, staff and schoolmates.
In Thursday's final, the defending champions managed to fend off the challengers, St Richards Primary School, to take home the title in a keenly contested match.
This is the third time in the last four years that Mona Preparatory has copped the coveted title; however, the school's principal, Carol Blanchard, said this time around, the win is extra special.
"It is a pre-anniversary gift. We celebrate our 50th anniversary next year," Blanchard beamed in the schoolyard.
She commended the coaches, Nero Christian and Lakhranie Suckoo, and the team for their hard work in bringing glory to the school once again.
Christian noted that the experiences they gained from losing over the years have allowed them to develop a strategy unique to their institution.
He said the average age of the team is 11, and the competition has provided them with a chance to build their self-confidence and provide additional knowledge for them to ace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) next year.
"We had to keep saying to them that the minute they believe they are winners, they have already won," Christian added.
He said they started training during the past summer and would spend at least two hours after school five days per week in training.
However, the members of the team said they had no problem managing their GSAT studies with the rigours of quiz training.
In fact, they say they are better for having participated in the competition.
"We were trained to be disciplined and manage our time and we have set strategies we use," Jevon said, adding that he could not divulge the secrets of the strategy.
The team received $300,000 from National Commercial Bank, along with several prizes from GraceKennedy, Holiday Inn, Dolphin Cove, The JTA Co-operative Credit Union, and Nestlé, and several other sponsors.