Who doesn’t love Alex Trebek and Jeopardy!?
Rye Middle School’s very own 7th grade English teacher Peter Gouveia is a contestant on Jeopardy!’s 2020 Teachers Tournament that premiers on Monday, May 25th, 2020. Taped in early February, this all-new special event features 15 elite K-12 instructors competing for a $100,000 grand prize and a berth in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.
Gouveia is restricted from saying if he won or not, but MyRye.com got in touch with him to find out how he wound up on Jeopardy!
#1 How did you even wind up on Jeopardy!?
Gouveia: I took the Jeopardy online test in January of 2019. This was my third time taking the test…..it was a rapid-fire 50-question test on all sorts of topics. I received an email to attend the in-person interview in Boston in May. I was in the afternoon session with about 150 other people. We were divided into three rooms where we played a mock Jeopardy game to warm us up, and then we took two 50-question quizzes. Then the contestant coordinators called us up three at a time to play a three-minute game of Jeopardy. At that time, they interviewed each of us and asked us questions such as “What do you do for work?” and “How do you enjoy your spare time?” They asked each of us “What would you do with any money that you might win?” (I told them that I would go to Chipotle and definitely order the guacamole, and I would buy a new fence for our backyard to keep out our nosey neighbors.)
Gouveia: The coordinators told the contestants that if they advance to the next round, they would be put into a pool for the next 18 months. In January, I received a call at school from one of the contestant coordinators who invited me to participate in the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament. Over 98,000 people took the test online, 3600 were asked to attend auditions in six cities across the country, and from that group, about 450 people were invited to Los Angeles to tape. Of the 450 contestants, 15 teachers (including me!) were invited to the Teachers Tournament.
(MyRye.com: OK, if you like math that’s 0.0153% of the folks taking the test wind up on the TV show. That’s a hard test!)
#3 What was the trip like?
Gouveia: Unlike a traditional Jeopardy contestant who is responsible for paying his or her own way to California, Jeopardy paid for our flight, hotel accommodations, and other expenses. At the end of February, my husband, Justin, and I flew out to Los Angeles for the taping. We went out the day before and spent our free time hiking to the Hollywood sign and eating at In-n-Out. My high school prom date, Dana Sause, flew out from Atlanta to join us for the taping. Dana and I were in High School Quiz Bowl together in Connecticut. We promised ourselves that we would both get on Jeopardy some day. She was on in 2009…now it was my turn.
We stayed at the Hotel Culver in Culver City, which was the same hotel that accommodated the cast of “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939. (Rumor has it that the Munchkins slept three to a bed sideways!) Sony Studios is right down the street….We taped five episodes on Monday and five episodes on Tuesday, so the entire two-week tournament was over in two days. Jeopardy tapes in the studio next to Wheel of Fortune.
#4 And Alex Trebek? What was he like?
Gouveia: Alex Trebek was absolutely delightful. Contestants don’t actually meet him until he steps out to the stage for the live taping. The first time he chatted with me is when he interviewed me during the actual show. (Contestants don’t know in advance what “blurb” or “fun fact” Alex will focus on.) During commercial breaks, he chats with the audience and answers their questions since it takes about an hour to film each 30-minute episode. He has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. Although he posed for a few pictures with all 15 of us, he was not able to stay for the wrap-up party because he was not feeling well due to his chemotherapy.
#5 What About the Other Contestants?
Gouveia: The teachers I met are all phenomenal people from all over the country….about 12 or 13 of us meet each Thursday night to play trivia on Zoom. They are some of the smartest people I have ever met.
#6 Alex Trebek does not read MyRye.com. So far in May, over 8,000 people have been reading MyRye.com, but we can all definitely keep a secret… did you win?
Gouveia: So legally I cannot say how much money I won, but I can tell you that every teacher was given a minimum of $5,000 and that fence that I mentioned before was installed last week. I think if I had won the grand prize, I would certainly take a well deserved vacation since online learning has been quite a challenge for all teachers. We are working so hard to provide a quality education for our kids. I call my Team 7M kids “chicken nuggets” and I miss them terribly!
#7 What other Rye teachers would be great players at Jeopardy!?
Gouveia: I think a few other teachers in Rye would be phenomenal players. Francesca Miller, who teaches 8th grade social studies, is one of the smartest women I know, and I think she would rock so many categories, especially when it comes to government, history, and current events. John O’Donnell, our 7th grade language arts teacher who was a former actor and comedian, is also extremely smart, and I think he would do really well since he is so knowledgeable about the most obscure facts.
Watch the teaser video: