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Who won 'Jeopardy!' Teachers Tournament?


Fri, May 18th 2018 09:15 pm
The finalists with host Alex Trebek. (Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions Inc.)
The finalists with host Alex Trebek. (Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions Inc.)
Second-grade teacher Larry Martin wins 'Jeopardy!' Teachers Tournament, claims $100,000 grand prize
Claire Bishop takes second place; Steve Mond finishes third
Larry Martin, a second-grade teacher at Belinder Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kansas, won the "Jeopardy!" Teachers Tournament in an episode that aired Friday. He claimed the $100,000 grand prize and secured an automatic berth in the next edition of the "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions. Claire Bishop, a Latin teacher at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky, placed second and took home $50,000. Steve Mond, a math teacher at Real Salt Lake Academy in Herriman, Utah, finished in third place and earned $25,000.
Martin, who has taught second grade for 27 years, said that his students helped him succeed on "Jeopardy!".
"For years, I've often played different forms of classroom 'Jeopardy!' so they were pretty good in the weeks before the game at posing clues to me in spare moments, just for fun," Martin said. "Since they're learning about maps and map keys, in the last three days before my competition, we spent about five to 10 minutes each day with them looking in their atlases and posing clues to me about state and world capitals. I thought it would be cool for them to actually help me prepare, and I'm very proud to report that at least one of my correct responses in the competition was directly helped by that practice."
In addition to his classroom study sessions, Martin prepared for his appearance in the Teachers Tournament by studying as much as he could and playing practice games with his wife. He also tried to brush up on some subjects he knew he was weak in.
"Most people who know me know that I have a real gap when it comes to very recent pop culture, especially pop music," Martin said. "I really tried to work on it, but it was so hard for me. It was a surreal moment, and not in a good way, when a category that was entirely about hip-hop music came up. It was a great triumph, though, when I scored on 'What is 'Straight Outta Compton?' "
Meeting educators from around the country was a highlight for Martin, who had nothing but praise for his fellow competitors.
"I just loved this whole group of teachers. We were from all grade levels and subjects, and there was some range of personalities, but every single one, I believe, are genuinely nice people," he said." I wanted to win, very much, but I'd have had no problem feeling happy for either of (the other two finalists) if the game had gone another way."
Bishop, who came in second, faced Martin in her quarterfinal game before advancing to the semifinals as a wild card.
"After my quarterfinal game, I knew Larry would be a finalist," Bishop said. "We sat next to each other during the rest of the quarterfinal games, and he was cheering for me to get a wild card spot. When I became a finalist, I knew something really special would have to happen for me to beat Larry. The best player won the tournament, no question."
Bishop said making it to the semifinals was her initial goal heading into the tournament, and finishing in second place came as a surprise.
"I still can't really believe that I came in second in the Teachers Tournament," Bishop said. "There was definitely a sense of relief once the tournament was over; there was nothing to be nervous about any more. I was shocked, but oddly a little disappointed, because I kept thinking about all the moments I could've done something differently that might have led to me winning, which is completely irrational, since I hadn't even thought I'd make it to the final in the first place!"
Third place finisher Mond said he's proud of his performance in the Teachers Tournament, and that "it felt like the culmination of years of expectation, going almost exactly the way (he) envisioned it."
"Honestly, I was very confident about my chances of at least making the finals," Mond said. "I really felt that these were people I was honored to compete against, and I was genuinely thrilled for any of the three of us to win."
The two-week event, presented by Farmers Insurance in affiliation with the insurer group's Thank America's Teachers program, featured 15 of the country's sharpest educators competing for the $100,000 grand prize and a spot in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.
Additionally, Farmers Insurance, through its Thank America's Teachers program, presented each of the contestants with a $2,500 educational grant to fund classroom projects. In 2018, Farmers Insurance will award teachers more than $1 million in grants, supporting proposals that help make a difference in the lives of students across the country. More information, as well as an opportunity to personally thank a teacher or to vote for a teacher's proposal throughout the year, can be found at ThankAmericasTeachers.com.
For more information, visit Jeopardy.com.

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