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The alternative Euros: How Highland school quiz teams prepare for success

While the nation’s eyes are on Scotland’s long-awaited Euro 2020 kickoff, teams of north primary pupils will be laser-focused on the prize of Euro 2021.

And although the students will be competing in a virtual quiz bowl and not on the football pitch, you can be sure they take their training just as seriously.

Euroquiz is a learning project open to all P6 pupils in Scotland. Teams of four work together to expand their knowledge of Europe and the world. From January to March, teams from each school went head-to-head in quiz battles on subjects from languages and culture to history and European affairs.

One team from each local authority goes on to the national final. This year, Inverness’s Cradlehall Primary came out on top in the Highland heats. But it was a close race, with fellow city school Inshes and Sutherland primary Rosehall just a few points behind.

In a series of exclusive interviews, some of Highland’s top quizmasters shared their secrets for success.

Highland Euroquiz teams: born to learn

For many of the Euroquiz team members, the decision to join the competition was a no-brainer. Cradlehall P6 Logan Wu said that Euroquiz is a family tradition.

“I’ve always wanted to join since my brother joined (last year’s event).”

Inshes P6 Joe Mackinnon said he joined so that he could learn more about the world around him.

“I thought it would be a good experience to learn lots of stuff about Europe, and I really like quizzes.

“Before the Euroquiz, I didn’t really know any capitals or any geography, but now I know most capitals and countries in Europe.”

Euroquiz gave Highland pupils more appreciation for wider world

Another member of the Inshes team, Hazel Cload, said that some of the facts she learned might even help her communicate better with people from other countries.

“The most interesting fact I learned is probably the fact that Bulgarians nod their heads to say no and shake their heads to say no.”

While Cradlehall pupil Jan Sychra was glad for one Euroquiz fact that could help him avoid an unpleasant morning if he ever finds himself in Finland on 27 July.

“My most interesting fact would be about this national day in Finland called ‘Sleepy Head Day,’ where you chuck the last member of the family to wake up into a nearby lake.”

How one young pupil showed the future is bright

The Cradlehall, Rosehall and Inshes Euroquiz teams made the Highland heats a cagey affair. Cradlehall edged Inshes by one point with a score of 51 out of 60, while Rosehall was nipping at both their heels with 48.

Rosehall Primary's 2021 Euroquiz team for Highland heats
Rosehall Primary pupils Angus, right, Cara, Tommy and Rosalie practicing for the Euroquiz competition. Supplied by Rosehall Primary School

But Rosehall might have been the competition’s dark horse. Head teacher Lesley Morrison said the school struggled to put together a full team of P6s, but some of their rising stars–P3 Rosalie, P4 Tommy Rooney and P5 Angus Masson–joined P6 Cara Forrest to save the day.

“There are only 10 in the school so we didn’t have enough P6s to make a team so we asked younger pupils in the school to help us out.

“I am so proud of our team, they worked so hard. The children worked in their own time at school and at home, even sometimes giving up lunchtimes to study and read books about Europe.”

One last quiz

Thanks to their victory in the Highland heat the Cradlehall Euroquiz team will take part in the national final. Normally, this means a school trip to the big stage: Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. But this year, coronavirus restrictions mean that the final on Monday will be virtual.

Still, Jan said that he and his teammates don’t have any time for negativity.

“I would wish that I could go out to Edinburgh for the full experience, but I’m still quite happy that I made it to the final.”