Lydia Cuffman, a 2004 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, will compete in the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament on Tuesday. The show will air at 7:30 p.m. on WBIR-TV in Knoxville.
Cuffman is now a history teacher at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California.
Her mother, Kym Cuffman, said 200,000 people sign up to take the Jeopardy test each year. One hundred fifty thousand actually take the test, and 400 make it to the final contestants’ pool, Kym Cuffman said. There were 15 K-12 teachers chosen to be in the Teachers Tournament.
Lydia Cuffman will compete on Tuesday against Cathy Farrell of Wyandotte, Michigan, and Michael Jones of Madison, Wisconsin.
The two-week contest runs from February 2-13. The winner will walk away with $100,000 and an automatic berth in the next Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. The second- and third-place finishers will receive $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.
Cuffman told the Sequoia High School newspaper, The Raven Report, that she has always been into trivia, and she first applied to be on the show when she was 15.
“I read a bunch, so I had that base knowledge to start with,” she told the newspaper. “I did Scholar’s Bowl when I was in high school, which is like our Quiz Kids or trivia team.”
Cuffman took an online test, attended an in-person audition, passed a 50-question written test, participated in a mock round of the show, and took part in a personality interview, the Raven Report said.
Her husband and her parents will be at the taping to cheer her on, and the high school’s history department will all be watching the show together.
The complete Teachers Tournament contestant field is as follows:
- Tracy Alexander, an AP English teacher from Sahuarita, Arizona;
- Mary Bayer, a drama teacher from Elgin, Illinois;
- Lydia Cuffman, a world, U.S., and Latin American history teacher from Redwood City, California;
- Adam Elkana-Hale, a math teacher from St. Louis, Missouri;
- Cathy Farrell, a physics and general science teacher from New Boston, Michigan;
- Jennifer Giles, a bilingual education teacher from Longmont, Colorado;
- Chris Grinvalds, a world history and computer teacher from Yutan, Nebraska;
- Eric Hack, a Latin teacher from Exmore, Virginia;
- Martha Jackson, a math and speech teacher from Tabor, Iowa;
- Michael Jones, a special education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin;
- Kate La Riviere-Gagner, a fifth- and sixth-grade classroom teacher from North Ferrisburgh, Vermont;
- MaryLou McKenna, an algebra teacher from Hyannis, Massachusetts;
- Erin McLaughlin, a fifth-grade classroom teacher from Brooklyn, New York;
- Colin O’Grady, an English teacher from Alexandria, Virginia; and
- Jay Singleton, a social studies and government teacher from Fishersville, Virginia.