Whitman Grad Wins ‘Jeopardy!’
A 2000 Walt Whitman High School graduate is a contestant on the hit ABC game show “Jeopardy!”, competing in the two-week Teachers Tournament.
Patrick Dillon, a 31-year-old music and chorus teacher at Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset, won the first round of the tournament, which aired on Tuesday night.
“This may sound corny, but it was very much like fulfilling a childhood dream,” he said, adding that he has been watching “Jeopardy!” since he was in the first grade.
He attributed his success in the competition to living “a very curious life.” The teacher prepared for the game show by reading many books on a wide range of subjects. He also believes his undergraduate education as a history major helped to do the trick.
Tuesday night’s categories included “Your Mythic ABC’s,” “Teaching the Teachers,” “Quotable Quotes,” “Volcanoes,” “Actors Playing Writers,” and “Cross Word Clues ‘F’”.
When the $2,000 mythology answer, “The son of the God of fertility, he was the Sun God of the Canaanites and Phoenicians,” came up, Dillon knew the question was “Who is Baal?” thanks to a religion class he took in college.
The teacher had been taking the online “Jeopardy!” assessment for six or seven years, and last spring he received a call to go into the city for an audition, which included a mock game, an interview, and a written test.
The Teachers Tournament was filmed in Los Angeles at the end of October.
Dillon ended Tuesday night with $26,702 after providing the correct question to the Final Jeopardy answer, “In 1802, 3 years after it was discovered, it was moved to London under the terms of the Surrender of Alexandria.”
“What is the Rosetta Stone?” he wrote.
The second place winner finished with a total of $20,000 and the third took home $399.
Dillon was the first to provide correct answers to many difficult questions. For example, in the “Cross Word Clues ‘F’” category for $2,000, Dillon answered “Falconer” to the clue “One Who Hawks (8) [letters].”
“I now know what being a rock star is actually like,” Dillon said on Wednesday. “I was swarmed today.”
He may be swarmed again after his second-round tournament appearance airs on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
“Being on the set and seeing all the teachers who had the same eternal burst for knowledge was fantastic,” Dillon said of his experience.
This is the fourth edition of Teachers Tournament on Jeopardy!