This is Jeopardy

I’ll take Carmel Catholic students for $200, please Alex. The answer: Freshman Isabella Pagano was on this show. What is: Jeopardy, Alex?

Back to Article
Back to Article

This is Jeopardy

Tori Jozwiak, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






At one time or another, most Americans have heard (or sang) the infamous Jeopardy jingle or imagined themselves conversing with host Alex Trebek. For some, it is a dream to be on the classic game show. But for freshman Isabella Pagano, that dream became a reality.

I’ll take Isabella Pagano for $200, Alex.
The answer: In order to be on the show, Pagano had to apply in this way.
What is: out-scoring 8,000 or more other teenagers on a test to eventually be part of the top 15, Alex.

Pagano has been watching Jeopardy since she was little. Over the course of the years, she heard about Jeopardy’s teen tournament and knew she wanted to do it as soon as she was old enough. In order to apply for the tournament, contestants must take an online test, which is distributed to more than 8,000 students across America.

“After the test, they took 250 kids out of everyone who auditioned based on how well they scored,” Pagano said, “They flew me out to Washington D.C.. Then I took another test to prove I knew what I was talking about the first time. And then the contestants did Game Play, where they let us ring in the buzzer and answer questions. They talk to you, too, to see if you’re interesting!”

Alex, I’ll have Filming the Show for $400.
The answer: Pagano felt this way as she took the test and filmed the show.
What is: She felt good about the answers, Alex.

Despite the nerves and intense competition in the June tests, Pagano stayed calm and collected through it all. However, even though she was confident in her answers, Pagano did not find out if she made it until the end of July.

“I felt good about my answers on both tests, but you never know how other people are going to score. Some seniors could have more experience or know some more facts compared to me,” she said. “It was sometimes scary because you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Pagano kept reminding herself to be happy for the opportunity and that there was always next time if she did not make the competition this year.

“I was honestly assuming that nothing was going to come of it. I was so young and kept telling myself ‘I can try out again next year and do it again’ because I still have a solid three or four years ahead of me,” Pagano said. “I kept saying ‘I’m gonna have fun! See what happens.’ I wasn’t ever praying to put me on the show because I didn’t wanna get my hopes up for anything that wouldn’t come.”

Can I have Filming the Show for $600, Alex.
The answer: Pagano was awestruck meeting the old time television host of this game show.
Who is: Alex Trebek of Jeopardy, Alex.

Out of the 15 contestants on the show, Pagano was only one of two freshman, the majority being seniors and juniors. They are not given a study material and do not know what the categories are until they are in the game. The show is also different than what people see on TV, she mentions, and there was a lot going on behind the scenes.

“The show is a lot more produced than it looks on TV. Alex sometimes messes up a clue, so during the commercial breaks, he does voice overs and rerecords a bunch of them,” Pagano said. “They also turn the contestants around from all the scores because they may have something pop up on accident that the producers don’t want us to see.”

“There are more screens, too, than on TV. The clue stays in this little, tiny box that is actually kind of hard to see. Lights also come on to let the contestants know when to ring the buzzer; so you can’t technically ring the buzzer until the question is up.”

Even though the contestants are there for the thrill of competing, they all were starstruck when they saw the host, Alex Trebek.

“We were practicing, and he walked out in a T-shirt and jeans and denim jacket and said hi. It was pretty surreal for all of us,” Pagano said. “We’re all going, ‘Oh my gosh! There’s Alex Trebek!’”

I’ll have Keeping Secrets for $200, Alex.
The answer: Pagano knows who won the show, but her episode will be appearing on this day.
When is: November 8, 2018, Alex.

After Pagano told her friends that she made the show, they all bombarded her with requests to mention them on the show, even offering to help her study up on some topics that she may not know about, like video gaming. But Pagano agreed to a non-disclosure about anything that occurred on the show. However, she was able to describe her experience.

“Oh my gosh! It was amazing! All of us contestants became friends in the process, and we still keep in touch in our group chat. I would do it again as many times as I could because it was so fun!” Pagano said. “But Jeopardy is definitely more challenging than school.”