Academies student to appear on ‘Teen Jeopardy’

Culver Academies junior Andrew Van Duyn flew to Los Angeles last weekend to tape several episodes of the popular TV game show, “Jeopardy,” for its annual “Teen Jeopardy” game series, which will air in mid-February.
Van Duyn, from Wheaton, Illinois, took an online Teen Jeopardy test last April and was invited to audition for the show in August. Jeopardy representatives called Van Duyn three weeks ago to announce he’d been selected as one of 15 teens of 25,000 across the US who had applied. During the audition, Van Duyn says he also passed a personality test which included how subtle he is with the game show “buzzer” and how he handled his presentation.
Van Duyn spent the next three weeks sharpening his trivia skills for the program, with the help of Culver Academies’ Quiz Bowl coaches. That was no real departure from his regular schedule training for Quiz Bowl, in which the school has consistently scored well in competition over recent years.
Quiz Bowl head coach Phil Blessman says the coaching team plays against Quiz Bowl team captain Van Duyn.
“Most of the time he wins!” smiles Blessman. “We were all very excited when we found out he got in (to Teen Jeopardy), and we wanted to help him out.
“The school is really excited to have him there; we’re proud to have him represent our team.”
Quiz Bowl, according to Van Duyn, is actually more difficult, and requires deeper knowledge of its subject matter, than Teen Jeopardy, though Jeopardy covers a broader range of topics.
“If you’re good at Quiz Bowl,” he adds, “you’ll be good at Jeopardy.”
Van Duyn said he would spend the weekend and the next few days in L.A. taping the show, returning Wednesday. The number of episodes he personally will participate in depends on how well he does in the competition. There’s certainly incentive enough to succeed. The grand prize is $75,000, while each contestant is guaranteed at least $5,000 in winnings, with amounts increasing in increments depending on success. He says his whole family, including his fourth classman (freshman) brother John, will fly to California with him.
The month after the show airs, notes Van Duyn, he’ll appear another important function perhaps not as high profile: He’ll discuss his experiences on the show with Plymouth’s Rotary Club at a meeting in March.