Local teen to appear on 'Jeopardy!'

SANDUSKY If you have an answer, Drew Scheeler has a question. The 17-year-old Sandusk
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

If you have an answer, Drew Scheeler has a question.

The 17-year-old Sandusky teen was chosen as one of 15 teens in the United States to appear on the "Jeopardy!" Teen Tournament.

A senior at Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Drew will compete against 14 other teens in the 10-day tournament for a grand prize of $75,000.

"I'm ecstatic," he said. "I've always watched it and have always wanted to be a contestant."

Drew initially tried out for the teen version of "Jeopardy!" online in 2007. He was one of 10,000 to take the test, and one of 300 to fly to Nashville for a mock regional test last November.

"There were about 20 or 25 of us taking what they called a good faith test," he said. "They called us in in groups of three, and we got to play around with the buzzers."

According to the show's Web site, "Jeopardy!" is rated No. 2 in the 50 greatest game shows of all time. It began the teen tournament for those between the ages of 13 and 17 in the 1980s. The teen tournament gives the nation's "brightest teenagers" an opportunity to face-off in an intense competition.

Last year was the first time "Jeopardy!" hosted two teen tournaments.

Drew said he wasn't heartbroken he didn't immediately receive a callback.

"We didn't hear anything, so I kind of put it at the back of my mind," he said.

Then, in August, the show's contestant coordinator called him.

"She told me they wanted me to be on the show," he said. "I was excited, but I was at work. All I could think about was that I had to work seven more hours until I could tell anyone."

Drew and his parents, Mark and Cynthia, flew to Culver City, Calif., Friday for an all-expense-paid trip to the show's taping. The show will air in November.

"Sunday, they're taking us to Universal Studios for a fun day," Drew said, then chuckled. "They'll give us a day of fun, and then a few days of stress. No, it's going to be fun. I'm really looking forward to it."

His mother said she's proud of her eldest son.

"I hope he has fun," she said. "This is such a great opportunity."

Drew said Alex Trebek, known for making conversation through quirky prompts, will most likely ask him about his balloon sculpting hobby.

"He'll probably say he's heard I have an interesting way to make money," Drew said. "I'll say, 'Yes, Alex, I make balloon animals for local businesses to earn extra money.'"

With seven advanced placement courses under his belt, Drew said he's confident in his abilities. Even so, he's brushing up on his knowledge of U.S. History and Shakespeare "because they always seem to show up."

He's also practicing his buzzer and wagering techniques.

"At a minimum I'll be up there (on stage, in the game) once," he said. "My goal is to appear four times. A lot of people know most of the questions, but in the end it comes down to how fast they are on the buzzer. I'm getting there."

No matter what the outcome of the show, Drew said he'll be content.

"I've just watched the show for the longest time ... to be a part of it is one of my life goals," he said. "Now I can cross this off of my list."