This Belinder teacher is a semifinalist in the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament. Who is Larry Martin?

Hundreds of Belinder students, teachers and parents packed into the school’s gym Monday to watch Larry Martin’s debut on the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament.

Belinder Elementary second grade teacher Larry Martin’s national television debut on the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament couldn’t have gone much better.

With hundreds of Belinder students, teachers and parents gathered in the school gymnasium, Martin’s many fans watched him cruise to a first-round victory that advances him to the semi-finals. His next appearance will air Wednesday, May 16.

Martin’s fellow Belinder teachers wore matching shirts at the watch party.

“Can we do this again next Wednesday?” Martin asked an ebullient crowd after Final Jeopardy had wrapped and his win was official.

Martin put in a strong performance from start to finish. He finished the first round in the lead with $6,200, but with Lexington, Ky., Latin teacher Claire Bishop nipping at his heels with $5,200. He kept pushing forward through Double Jeopardy, and had extended his lead to $1,600 in the Double Jeopardy round when he wagered $3,000 on a Daily Double in the category “Colleges.”

The Daily Double item, “This author attended Lincoln College and based spy George Smiley in part on rector Vivian Green,” stumped him (the answer was “John le Carré”), and he fell into second place. But a few quick correct answers from the category “Sounds Criminal But Isn’t” (“A group of crows.” “What is a murder?”) put him back in front. By the end of the second round he was up $20,600 to $14,400.

Martin received a $2,500 grant from Farmers Insurance for participating in the tournament. He’ll use it for the Marvel News, his student newsletter.

The Final Jeopardy item — “This city, also the title of a film that won two Oscars, was named for a businessman known for 19th century transportation.” “What is Fargo?” — stymied all three contests. But Martin’s wager of $2,500 left him with $18,100, nearly $5,000 more than Bishop.

Martin knows what happens next — he filmed the teachers tournament episodes in Los Angeles March 20 and 21 — but he can’t say. So his fans will have to wait until next week to see if he can make it into the finals.

After the episode concluded, representatives of Farmers Insurance, which sponsors the teachers tournament on Jeopardy, presented Martin with a check for $2,500. He said he’ll be using it for the production of his student newsletter, the Marvel News. (Which, it’s worth reminding everyone, scored an interview with the president of the United States a few years ago).

Martin’s students held cutouts of their teacher during the watch party.