Growing up in the picturesque Lakes Region town of Alton, Alec O’Meara was very familiar with the local PBS high school game show, GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE. “I remember watching GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE and Channel 11. When I was a kid, we only had three networks, and Channel 11 was the best channel,” said O’Meara. “All of my favorite shows as a kid were on: Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Doctor Who. I would watch anything that was on public television, and that included GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE.”
These days, O’Meara not only watches GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE but is involved in several aspects of the show in his role as external affairs manager at Unitil, which has been one of GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE’s biggest corporate sponsors since 2015. O’Meara has recorded the special power questions, which are used in the show, and he’s in the studio during the SuperChallenge taping. O’Meara said, “I get the opportunity to hand out the trophies to the runner up and the champion.”
In 2015, O’Meara’s boss was from Massachusetts and wasn’t familiar with the program, but when she told him Unitil was looking to support GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE, O’Meara recommended that she jump at the chance. “I mentioned that would be a tremendous opportunity. I told her this show is part of the culture of the state,” said O’Meara.
“I always say this is one of my favorite partnerships that Unitil is a part of because it’s such a special and complete partnership,” said O’Meara. “I feel like we really get to be involved with just about every piece of the competition. For example, we’ve had several employees participate as proctors during the Super Sunday qualifying event,” when hundreds of students representing their high schools gather to take a grueling qualifying test. This is the first step for students who dream of taking their place on the iconic GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE set and putting their knowledge to the ultimate test.
“This partnership is a nice fit with what we try to do with our philanthropy and our overall company goals,” said O’Meara. Unitil looks for opportunities to show support in its communities through education and STEM initiatives. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities for academics to represent their school in a competitive format, and that’s what we see in GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE,” said O’Meara.
The competition is about to heat up this February. The 42nd season of GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE premieres on Thursday, February 8th at 7:30 PM on NHPBS. To keep up with how teams are doing, go to nhpbs.org/gsc for all the latest highlights.
“When the competition is close, and it’s getting down to the final two or three minutes of the championship game, and victory is within reach, there’s the same sort of tension in the room that you would associate with a close basketball game,” said O’Meara. “There’s anxiety, and there’s relief, and there’s joy, and it’s wonderful to see.”
Pictured: Alec O'Meara interviewing coaches from the 2023 winning Merrimack team. Photographed by Mark Bolton.
ASD takes on Manchester Central.
Dover High faces off against Souhegan High in the third Round One game.
Belmont High will face 2023 champion, Merrimack High.
New Hampshire's brightest high school kids square off in a high-stakes quiz showdown.
Belmont High meets Concord High in the first wildcard qualifying game.
Lin-Wood High faces Newfound Regional High in the second wildcard qualifying game.
Bobcats vs. Tomahawks in this final matchup of the season.
Plymouth Regional High School takes on Trinity High School.
The semifinal round opens with Hopkinton taking on Merrimack.
Oyster River takes on Trinity in this quarter final match.
Bow High School takes on Plymouth Regional High School.
Hopkinton and St. Thomas Aquinas face off in a fast-paced round two competition.
Merrimack High School takes on Souhegan High school.
Dover High School takes on Trinity High School in the final match up of round one.
Oyster River High School takes on Winnacunnet High School.
Mascoma Valley Regional High School takes on Bow High School in this round one match.
Plymouth Regional High meets Salem High in this round one match.
Hopkinton High meets defending champion Portsmouth High.
Fall Mountain Regional High meets St. Thomas Aquinas High in game three.
Nashua High School South takes on Souhegan High School in this first round match.
John Stark Regional High meets Merrimack High in the first game of the 41st season.
John Stark takes on Newfound in this Wildcard Preseason matchup.
Profile takes on Salem in this Wildcard Preseason matchup.
Who will win it all?
Londonderry High School takes on Portsmouth High School.
Merrimack High School takes on Nashua High School South.
Londonderry takes on Manchester Central in this quarterfinal matchup.
ConVal High School takes on Portsmouth High School in this quarterfinal matchup.
Merrimack High School takes on Plymouth Regional High School in this quarterfinal matchup.
The first match in the quarterfinals in the 40th season of Granite State Challenge.
The eighth game of the season and final game in the first round.
The seventh game of the season pits Manchester Central High against Salem High.
The Conval Cougars take on the Hopkinton Hawks!
Mascoma takes on Portsmouth.
The Crusaders of Littleton High take on the Fall Mountain Wildcats.
The Purple Panthers of Nashua High South take on the Falcons of Bow High.
The Academy for Science and Design take on Plymouth Regional High School.
The Tomahawks of Merrimack take on the Kingswood Knights.
Tune in to the first episode of the 40th season when Kingswood takes on Merrimack.
Merrimack takes on Bow in the final matchup of the season.
Bow takes on Portsmouth in this semi final matchup.
Manchester Central takes on Merrimack in this semi final matchup.
Bow High takes on Stevens in the forth Quarterfinal match up.
Portsmouth High takes on Londonderry in the third Quarterfinal match up.
Defending champs Merrimack High against Plymouth Regional High.
The Little Green of Manchester Central High take on the Cardinals of Bishop Guertin.
The Salem High Blue Devils take on the Cardinals Stevens High.
The Bow Falcons meet the Prospect Mountain Timberwolves.
The Lancers of Londonderry High take on the Astros of Pinkerton Academy