March 31, 2007
Well, I made no plans for spring break, because I was expecting my younger daughter Rae to come home, but she decided not to, so now I have no plans. I can't do much because I don't have a drivers license, but I am expecting to ride my bike hither and yon, catch up on my reading, and relax and recharge for the nine-week push to the end of the school year.
One event of note this week, a real thrill for me and the students both. For the first time, we had a "History Jeopardy Tournament of Champions." To make sure the audience was really interested, we held the finals in the auditorium and charged 50 cents (proceeds to a charity of the winner's choice). The semifinals were held by me and my friends Mrs. S across the hall. Generally, boys are more enthusiastic about Jeopardy, and frequently better at it; the six finalists included four boys and two girls. But in the end, a boy won 14,200 to a girl's 14,000. Another young man boldly bet 7,000 on a Daily Double--and lost it on a question so obscure that I went home and made sure I'd never ask it again (that was the 6th time I asked that question, and I've never gotten a correct answer).
Why was I thrilled? Well, first and foremost, I am happy when my students are happy. But secondarily, ever since I was 13 years old (watching Art Fleming and Don Pardo), I wanted to host Jeopardy! After being a contestant in 1985 and watching what Alex Trebek does close up, I am sure I could do it. Now that I teach and have a Jeopardy! game console (sound effects and graphics--the students love it), I can host a dozen games a year in my room. And now, I believe we have established a tradition of an annual tournament of champions just before spring break.