On Saturday night Cleary Waldo ’19– the youngest contestant– blew her opponents away during a game of Jeopardy hosted by The Oracle. Sam Orazem, Jason Newman, Spencer Quinn, and Cleary took the stage to compete in a 61 question quiz game– with real prize money on the line.
The contestants’ fans packed into Cowan Auditorium at 7:30 PM, and the show began. Categories in the first round included Things You Learn in Clinton, Simple Riddles, and 2016 Billboard Top 100. Sam, in the player-one seat, picked the first question: Blair People for $1.
“This Blair language and economics teacher once hosted a game show in China.”
The answer: Who is Mr. Facciani? The game progressed, each player accruing and losing money as the rounds progressed.
When the players sat stumped, the timer ticking out, questions passed to the audience. In an exciting moment in the second round, Noah Bryan, a freshman, answered a question in Things You Learn in Bogle that befuddled not only the players, but most of the audience. “In zero gravity, these, in your spine, expand, making you grow taller.” Cleary buzzed in first, answering vertebrae. Incorrect. Passed to the audience, only Noah knew the answer: spinal cartilage disks. For his victory, he was awarded a print edition of The Oracle. He also won a Peddie Day shirt during a “commercial break.”
Throughout the game several mini contests for the audience were held as “commercial breaks.” During these, audience members scrambled to get a seat at the buzzer table. Questions were offered from History, Science, and Culture categories, and each time someone got a question correct they won an Oracle mug, a Peddie Day shirt, an Oracle tee, or temporary tattoos. It’s quite possible that these intermissions were more popular than the actual show, though Cleary’s fan base was excited and supportive throughout the competition.
The game came down to Final Jeopardy. Scores stood with Sam at 26, Jason– who had gone on a losing binge in the second half– with 9, Spencer at 40, and Cleary with 50. The players made their wagers. The crowd cheered and went quiet with suspense.
The final clue: “An early advocate of civil rights– he said African-American rights were “just as sacred as those of any other citizen” during his first State of the Union– this man was one of two US Presidents to hail from Vermont, and caused the Klan to lose much of its influence during his rather isolationist presidency.”
Of the contestants, no one got the correct answer. Jason suggested Trump. Sam played John Cena. Spencer turned in a blank card. Cleary wrote Abraham Lincoln. The answer: who is Calvin Coolidge?
All incorrect, it came down to who would keep the most money. Jason and Sam both went to zero. Spencer lost $10, and Cleary held firm at $50. Her fans went wild.
Though the game lasted much longer than intended, everyone left for the Coffee House in high spirits, many taking away prizes themselves.
(Copyright 2017 Tys Sweeney)