Did you know that the official title is spelled with an exclamation mark at the end? So, while I'm excited that it's her favorite show, and I admit that I over-use the beloved excitement mark (that's what Nolan used to call it waaay back in 1st grade), I am just typing it as I see it, people.
Thanks to the miracle that is DVR, she hasn't missed an episode in a year and a half. She's dedicated. So when they advertised that you could take an online test to star on Jeopardy! Kids Week, she knew she couldn't miss it. We registered online and waited a week or two to log in and take the test. It was on a Wednesday at 7pm in November. There happened to be a dozen or so high school football players at our house that evening, but it didn't deter her.
She logged on, took the test and did well (I watched). She missed a few, mostly the pop culture questions.(Should a 10 year old know who Usher is? I'm glad she missed that one.) We were told that if she passed and was selected, we'd find out some time during the next year. If she wasn't selected, we'd never hear back. Duh.
So, imagine my surprise when a week later I received an email stating that not only had she passed, but that she had been selected for an in-person interview, test and mock Jeopardy! game. We would have to travel to Houston for the in-person process. I confirmed our appointment and we counted down the days. Claire's teachers gave her encouragement, support and all kind of books and games she could use to study.
If you know Claire, she is the Cliff Claven of the Spann Fam. She is very smart, but also has the ability to retain trivial (and important) information in that beautiful little head of hers like nobody's business. So she read and studied, but these were things she does for fun anyway. Yes, we tell her that she a nerd, a title she wears proudly.
On November 18th, Claire & I drove to Houston and stayed with the beloved Mrs. Nowalk, Claire's 3rd grade teacher and now friend, enjoyed a lovely dinner out, a trip to Target and went to bed, filled with excitement. Yes, it is thrilling when I get to go to Target!
The next morning we headed to IHOP and ate a ginormous breakfast. Afterwards we headed to the Westin in downtown Houston. We shopped the Galleria a bit and was early for her appointment. When we arrived, we learned the following:
- Over 8,000 kids took the online test, 200 were selected for an in-person interview
- Interviews were taking place that same day in 5 different cities, across the United States, with 40 kids in each city
- Claire's group has 18 kids, 5 were girls and Claire was the youngest of the group
We filled out paperwork, had their photos taken and the kids were taken next door for the process. They were interviewed in a casual, group setting. They were asked how they would spend the money if they won, what they wanted to be when they grew up, that sort of thing. They took a 30 question, written exam, and had 8 seconds to answer each question. Claire said she knew all but 3. They played a mock Jeopardy! game and Claire won her round! They didn't keep a total score, but she said she answered most of the questions - correctly, I might add.
Before we left I got a bit of advice from a teacher at our school, who's husband was on the show a couple of years ago: Have lots of energy! Be outgoing! Have a big personality!
When Claire was done, she and the other kids rejoined their parents. Immediately Claire said, "I think they're going to pick me, I did well and had lots of personality. The other kids... well, they were kind of dull." I love that girl.
So, we wait. We will find out in February if Claire is one of the 15 10-12 year olds selected out of 200 to be on the show. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention... the week before we left, Claire had 6 (yes six!) teeth pulled and had braces put on. Yeah, I probably should have rescheduled that appointment.
waiting to go in
big breakfast - her braces were hurting
outside the Houston Galleria Westin
where it all happened!