Classic Signals: Student scores second in ‘Jeopardy’

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

People across the nation cleared their schedules to binge watch the revival of “Gilmore Girls” this weekend. Many students of the College may have grown up watching the show from the comfort of their homes, but few may have imagined seeing themselves on the big screen one day.  Yet in 2005, one student made it onto  “Jeopardy” and finished the televised game show in second place.

All little children have big dreams they want to be ballerinas, doctors, firefighters, or United States presidents. But Liz Lackey, senior education/music major, had different plans she wanted to be a “Jeopardy” contestant.

The popular television game show, which features host Alex Trebek and airs on ABC, has fascinated Lackey for as long as she can remember.

Last Wednesday, Lackey’s dream came true when a show taped in early September aired and she took second place in the evening’s competition.

The process began when Lackey signed up for a tryout taking place in April in New York City while visiting Jeopardy’s Web site.

At the audition, each of the participants was required to take a 50-question test that covered 50 different categories. Upon completion, the test was graded immediately and those who had passed were notified.

“They never tell anyone what their score was,” Lackey said. “So if you fail the test, you can tell everyone that you missed it by one point. Out of about 70 people in my audience, only six passed, including me.”

Since she had passed the test, Lackey was asked to stay to play a mock version of the game and be interviewed. Even then, though, Lackey’s chances of actually being picked to appear weren’t a sure thing.

Finally, in August, Lackey did receive a phone call. A day later, a FedEx package arrived with a contract, forms to fill out and instructions on what she should wear.

Despite a bout of nerves, Lackey stacked up quite well against her competitors. She ended up taking second place, with the defending champion taking first.

And of course, win or lose, Lackey did get the chance to meet host and game show icon Trebek.

“During a commercial break, he started talking to me in an Irish accent,” she said. “I think the red hair and freckles gave him an idea. He also has a very firm handshake. He almost crushed my hand.”

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