CULVER CITY, CALIF. (Feb. 28, 2012) -- Patrick Quinn, a German teacher at Ritenour High School from Chesterfield, Mo., took first place in the "Jeopardy!" Teachers Tournament, earning $100,000 and a guaranteed spot in the upcoming Tournament of Champions. Quinn outscored 14 of the nation's brightest K-12 educators in the elite tournament, which was introduced last year.
"It was a complete surprise to win," Quinn said. "Before the tournament, I told people that I would have been thrilled to win just one game. Had I known how strong the competition was, I might not have hoped for even that much."
The 34-year-old Quinn, who was joined by his wife and several family members at the taping, said his favorite moment of the competition was correctly answering the "Final Jeopardy!" clue in the last game. Though, he almost didn't write it down in time. "I knew it, but I couldn't come up with the correct response until the very last few seconds of the music," he said. "Luckily, I got it out in time. It would have been very frustrating to finish and know the answer!"
To prepare for the competition, Quinn read a variety of books, played online trivia games and listened to recorded college lectures while driving, grading papers and working out. He hopes that his success on "Jeopardy!" will encourage his students to read and continue learning. "I hope that when kids see me studying for something and then see it pay off, literally in this case, they'll see the connection between time, effort and reward," he said.
Quinn received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in German from the University of Missouri. Ever since he was in high school, Quinn has wanted to become a teacher. "I think that it appealed to me as both something I would be good at and a way to give others what so many of my great high school teachers gave me," he said.
Quinn plans to use most of the money towards his house and savings. "My wife and I are pretty frugal," he said. "I think that we'll do some pretty exotic things like paying down the mortgage and replacing the rotting deck," he said jokingly. "We'll probably blow a little on travel, though. That's our one extravagance," he added.
Brooks Humphreys, a history teacher at Mercy High School from Omaha, Neb., placed second in the tournament and won $50,000. Third place winner Justin Hofstetter, a language arts and social studies teacher at Alta Vista Charter Middle School from Kansas City, Mo., took home $25,000.
"Jeopardy!," the winner of 29 Emmy awards, including the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Program, was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with 25 million viewers each week. "Jeopardy!" is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp.