PARIS – Three Oxford Hills Middle School students will appear on a popular game show aimed at getting seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders to think about attending college.

Caitlyn Lord and Dana Casey, both of Oxford, and Chris Ouellette of Otisfield will be the sole contestants on “Kick Start,” airing at 7:30 p.m. April 25 on WPTX, Channel 12 on Time Warner.

Twenty-four other Maine students will compete on other editions to be aired during the fourth season.

“The prize is a $2,500 NextGen College Investing Plan,” host John Marshall said this week. “The money will be held in the account until the student goes to college and then the funds can be used to help with tuition or room and board. As far as I know, it’s the largest prize currently awarded on Maine TV.”

The show is part of a larger initiative aimed at getting middle schoolers thinking about college. It is aired in partnership with NextGen, the University of Maine System, Kepware Technologies and Phinney Lumber of Gorham.

“Kick Start” uses humor to reach its audience while encouraging all Maine students to start thinking about continuing their education after high school.

The show includes students undergoing rigorous trivia tests as well as a messy showdown with a giant pie-wielding chicken.

Sort of like Double Dare meets Jeopardy, said Marshall.

“I watch the show,” Lord said, so she auditioned. “I thought it would be fun to be on it. My cousin Cordell Leeman was on it.” He went on to the semifinals during the show’s third season.

Lord said she and her friend Dana Casey auditioned and were asked to find a third friend who might like to complete the set of three students needed for the April 25 show. Chris Ouellette joined the group, she said.

The audition  included answering questions such as what do they want to do when they grow up, their favorite things and secret wishes.

Lord said she wants to be a florist when she grows up. “We had a career day (at the school) and she told us about her job and I thought it would be fun,” she said. Her secret wish? To meet One Direction, an English-Irish pop boy band based in London.

Lord said it was fun doing the show, which has already been taped and included answering questions and building a tower from unusual items.

“We wanted to create a show that was fun for kids,” said Marshall, who created and produces the show. He said it wasn’t an easy job.

“Most kids are very sophisticated TV watchers who have seen just about everything under the sun,” he said. “Our challenge was to come up with a new twist on the game show idea — something that would make them laugh and be strange enough to get their interest.”

While the students have already taped the show in the Westbrook studio, the results are secret. The question of who will win and who will have to face the rabid chicken will be revealed April 25.

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