Chesterfield resident Patrick Quinn, a high school German language teacher, won first place in Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament, earning $100,000 and a spot in the upcoming Tournament of Champions.
Quinn outscored 14 of the nation’s brightest K-12 educators in the elite tournament, which was introduced last year.
“It was a complete surprise to win,” Quinn said. “Before the tournament, I told people that I would have been thrilled to win just one game. Had I known how strong the competition was, I might not have hoped for even that much.”
Listen to Quinn gush over his win in the video (included with photo gallery here.)
The 34-year-old Quinn was joined by family at the Jeopardy! taping. He said his favorite moment was correctly answering the “Final Jeopardy!” clue in the last game. Quinn said he barely beat the clock in writing down the correct response. The Jeopardy! quiz show format provides answers, then contestants must respond with (the correct) questions.
“I knew it, but I couldn’t come up with the correct response until the very last few seconds of the music,” Quinn said. “Luckily, I got it out in time. It would have been very frustrating to finish and know the answer.”
To prepare for the competition, Quinn said he read books, played online trivia games and listened to recorded college lectures while driving, grading papers and working out.
Quinn described how he'll spend his $100,000 in winnings.
“My wife and I are pretty frugal. I think that we’ll do some pretty exotic things—like paying down the mortgage and replacing the rotting deck,” Quinn quipped. “We'll probably blow a little on travel, though. That's our one extravagance.”
A star at Ritenour
Quinn teaches German at Ritenour High School in Overland, MO. He said he hopes his success on “Jeopardy!” will encourage his students to read, study and learn.
“I hope that when kids see me studying for something and then see it pay off, literally in this case, they’ll see the connection between time, effort and reward,” Quinn said.
Quinn earned a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in German from University of Missouri. Quinn said he wanted to become a teacher ever since high school.
“I think that it appealed to me as both something I would be good at and a way to give others what so many of my great high school teachers gave me,” Quinn said.
- Brooks Humphreys, a history teacher at Mercy High School from Omaha, NB, placed second in the tournament and won $50,000.
- Third place winner Justin Hofstetter, a language arts and social studies teacher at Alta Vista Charter Middle School from Kansas City, MO, took home $25,000.
“Jeopardy!,” the winner of 29 Emmy awards, including the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Program, was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with 25 million viewers each week. “Jeopardy!” is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp.
Editor's note: The information here was provided by Jeopardy! and its Culver City, CA publicity coordinator. Patch looks to follow up with the Chesterfield teacher locally.