What happened when you found out you were going to be a contestant?
Well, I've been watching Jeopardy! for a really long time, and a lot of people in the family have said, "You know, you're so good when you watch Jeopardy!, you should really try out," so I decided... my dad signed me up for the New York try-out, and I went, and I was in the top 9 finalists from that, so, I thought, "You know, I'm in the top 9, maybe, you never know." So then in September, they gave me a call and they asked about accomodations that I might need if I were to get on the tournament. So I thought, "You know, maybe they might get me on, because they're calling about accomodations, but you never know." But then, in... a couple weeks ago, in October, I got the letter. And that was pretty exciting. I didn't even know until I got home from school. Actually, my guidance counselor knew before I did, because my mom called her up. So, that was really exciting, and... Looking forward to coming out here ever since.
What are you most excited about today?
Coming to L.A. has been really, really wonderful. I've been to California before, but I've never been to Los Angeles, so it's been so great. And meeting the people here. Some of the smartest kids in the country. It's been really nice meeting everybody. And, meeting Alex will be pretty cool a little later, I can't wait to get to know him.
If you had a "dream Jeopardy! category," what would it be?
Dream category, I'd say... LITERATURE. Anything sort of book-related, or pop culture. Maybe musicals. Or, maybe, history or geography. A couple of us were playing "match-the-country-with-the-capital" before so... hopefully we'll have a category like that.
What did you do to prepare for today?
I tried playing it online, but, unfortunately the online game wasn't accessible with the screen reader I use. So my mom and my brother played it and they had a good time, but I wasn't able to. But I watched the show almost every night. And my brother and I played each other, and we practiced wagering, and answering in the form of a question and stuff like that. So, that's what I did, basically. I did a lot of reading also.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ten years from now, I'm hoping to... be employed, first of all! I want to do secondary education, so I want to be teaching history in high schools, or middle schools somewhere.
What will you do with the money you win?
It's probably going to go college, most of it, but I've been kind of batting around ideas about what to do with... my parents said I could have a little bit of it, so I've been of batting around ideas. So I'm thinking either a computer, or maybe some nice jewelry, or maybe a trip somewhere, I'm not really sure, a Broadway show in the city, so... that would be pretty cool.
Do you have a particular role model?
Um, obviously my parents, especially my dad, because he really worked so hard to get me here. He signed me up for the try-out even though I wasn't sure I wanted to go, originally. And, as I was practicing--he's a city firefighter, so--even if he was at work a night, he would call me up while the game was on and he'd play it with me. And unfortunately, he couldn't be here today, but today's his birthday, so happy birthday, Dad, I wish you were here, I'm thinking about you while I'm playing today.