Keeping the Game Alive – The Past and Future of St. George’s Schoolreach


Room 230, the so-called “Latin Room” and home of Schoolreach at St. George’s

VANCOUVER—Of all the clubs at St. George’s School, regardless of size, few clubs are as tight-knit and close as the Schoolreach team. If one were to stumble upon the room almost universally known simply as the “Latin Room,” Room 230, they would likely find nearly a dozen Schoolreach-playing students, anxiously waiting for the next question to test their wits and knowledge.

At heart, Schoolreach is a trivia game. Students are in a constant race to see which team is able to answer the most questions. Questions abound from a plethora of categories, from capital cities to The Beatles, and chemical reactions to Anne of Green Gables.

Each player clutches a red and black buzzer, with the fastest player to press their buzzer being the only player allowed to answer the question for their team and, hopefully, add to their points total. Even a few of the famous and successful have clenched buzzers in the past, from Canadian diplomats to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“It’s really testing your knowledge,” Louie Lu, a Yale-bound Grade 12 student and veteran Schoolreach player noted. “It’s also pushing your boundaries; you even learn from getting questions wrong.”

Louie is one of the veteran so-called “Reachers” at the tail-end of the glory days of St. George’s Schoolreach, where the school was well-known throughout the country as a fixture at annual national tournaments in Ontario. From its beginnings at the school with Mr. Eric Stewart, and Ms. Catherine Mori’s taking over of the program in 2008, Schoolreach has been well-established in the school community. At its peak, the club drew massive numbers of students from the school, from all sorts of backgrounds.

“I think it was about 80 [people],” Ms. Mori, coach and sponsor of Schoolreach at St. George’s recalled. “There used to be tons of people getting involved.”

However, in the past year, concerns have beset the club. Young, talented students were not joining Schoolreach. Older students would graduate and move on. It seemed like there would be a point when there would be no hands to clench those buzzers. When asked about the club’s recent growth struggles, Ms. Mori struck a concerned tone.

“It’s been slipping,” she continued. “I’m just wondering how to get [students] back in.”

Ms. Mori also noted an important factor that might be stifling the growth of Schoolreach at the school.

“I have noticed that this school is very stratified, so usually the 8s and 9s don’t talk to each other, the 9s to 10s, there’s this sort of stratification,” Ms. Mori lamented. “So how do you get a hold of people and get them in [to Schoolreach]?”

Louie shares similar concerns over the future of the club.

“I’m worried, perhaps in 3 or 4 years,” Louie adds. “I’m not sure how Schoolreach will fare then.”

Although concerns will always linger, there is some hope for the future. The responsibility to continue to grow and develop the club falls to the students at the middle of the road – mostly Grade 10 and 11 students who still have a significant amount of time at St. George’s and in Schoolreach. The club has had a small increase in numbers over the past year, with about 10 Grade 8 and Grade 9 students trying their hand at a game over the past year. Nonetheless, the search for new talent continues, with Louie providing words of wisdom for the current generation of “Reachers.”

“Have an inclusive and very fun environment, keep it very open,” Louie encourages. “[Have] the idea that anyone can join, it doesn’t matter how smart you are.”

Louie ends his words of advice with his confidence that the future is strong for Schoolreach at St. George’s.

“I’m confident that the younger members will continue to hold the torch and the mantle of our long and illustrious legacy.”