GBAPS music specialist competes on Jeopardy
By Janelle Fisher
GREEN BAY – This Green Bay teacher recently fulfilled a lifelong dream when she competed on an episode of Jeopardy!
Who is Christina Clark, an elementary music specialist in the Green Bay Area Public Schools (GBAPS)?
Clark, who said she’s been drawn to the TV game show since she was little, checked competing on Jeopardy! off her bucket list when she appeared on the Wednesday, April 27 episode.
“I’ve been a fan of trivia game shows since I was a child, and I remember running home to watch Jeopardy! at 3:30 after school,” she said.
Though a lifelong fan, Clark, who teaches K-5 graders at Danz and Langlade elementary schools, said she didn’t think about potentially being a contestant until middle school, when she was watching with a friend.
It wasn’t until after college that she started to actively try to get on the show.
“I started to think about being on it in middle school when my friend was watching with me and started adding up how much “money” I won every time I answered a question correctly,” she said. “I started taking the tests online just after college, and I’ve done so every year since.”
No easy task
Clark said being chosen to be on an episode of Jeopardy! is no easy task.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” she said. “First is the online test, where you have to answer 50 questions in 15 seconds each. If you pass that, you get invited to the in-person audition, where you play a mock game against other potential contestants and take another 50-question test.”
Clark said even making it through all of those tests is still no guarantee you’ll be chosen for the show.
“If you pass that one, you’re put into the contestant pool, where you have the chance to be selected to appear on the show anytime in the following 18 months,” she said. “Only about 400 contestants are selected every year, so it really is an honor just to get invited to the show.”
Clark said she considers herself lucky to have been one of the chosen and encourages others who are interested to keep trying.
“I was lucky and got invited after two tries (passing the online test and also going through to the second in-person test and audition), but it can take quite a few tries to be invited onto the show,” she said. “As far as advice, just keep trying.”
To prepare for her episode, Clark said she found it most helpful to watch previous episodes and read up on subjects that she was less familiar with.
“I didn’t really do anything special,” she said. “I just DVR the show every day and try to absorb as much as I can from every episode. I would read up a little more on some subjects I was unfamiliar with.”
From the time she was invited to film the show, to the time they were done taping, Clark said the process was surprisingly fast.
“I was surprised by how fast everything happened,” she said. “From getting the call inviting me to the show to the tape dates was only three weeks. And the taping went so quickly as well.”
Clark said the whole experience was a bit surreal.
“It was overwhelming in the best possible way,” she said. “The entire day was a whirlwind, but I had such an incredible experience.”
Clark said the friendliness of both the staff and other competitors was part of what made the experience so incredible.
“The staff we met were so friendly, and it was awesome to meet the other contestants and get to share the experience with them,” she said. “Even though we were supposed to be competing against each other, we had a great time chatting and sharing our stories.”