H-F High senior wins national quiz competition

Jack Piros has an incredible memory. It helped him in a team competition and five individual quiz competitions hosted by International Academic Competitions and won him the National Political Science Bee.

“It’s a great weekend. I was excited for it like weeks in advance,” Piros said. “I’ve been before. I don’t know anyone who signed up for five competitions like I did. I might have had the busiest schedule (over three days).

H-F Principal Clinton Alexander, left, congratulates Jack Piros for being named a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist in November. (Provided photo)

“It’s a long day. it’s a really, really long day, but it’s just fun hanging out with the teammates and fun to answer all these questions,” he said, admitting, “I was very tired by Sunday.”

Piros, a graduating senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, was entered in five contests – National Political Science Bee, U.S. History Bee, the National History Bee, the National Geography Bee and National Academic Bee.

The national win against 47 competitors comes on top of Piros being named to the Scholastic Bowl All-State team. He was only the third H-F player in school history to be All-State twice. 

The national competitions were similar to what Piros has taken part in as a member of 

H-F’s Scholastic Bowl. The competition pits an H-F team against another school’s team in a timed competition to see which team can provide the most correct answers to questions from a wide range of knowledge, including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, popular culture and sports.

Piros took a multiple-choice quiz to qualify for the competition in Arlington, Virginia. He attended the meeting as one of 10 Homewood-Flossmoor High School students entered in the National History Bowl, and then he competed in the five additional quizzes.

The National Political Science Bee started off with Piros answering 30 questions in the preliminary round so that he could advance to the semi-final round with another 35 questions. He successfully answered the majority of the 35 questions in the final round.

There isn’t really a way to study for the competitions. Piros enjoys reading and has interests in a broad range of subjects. He does use Wikepedia to study “the basics of the country and major candidates and parties.  It gives me a good base,” he said.

Piros found himself drawing on knowledge he gleaned from his AP (advanced placement) courses at H-F in human geography, U.S. history, world history and government and politics.

Even though the title was National Political Science Bee, Piros said questions covered relevant political topics in Canada, Indonesia, China and Australia, in addition to U.S. politics. He remembers missing two questions because he was too slow. One was on an Indonesian government question, and a second on Hungary’s prime minister’s election in 2006.

Piros will be a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall majoring in political science.  During his senior year, he was named an Illinois State Scholar, and a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist.

He is the son of Ann and Mark Piros of Homewood.

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