Larry Martin, a Belinder Elementary veteran who has been teaching 2nd grade for 27 years, is the champion of the 2018 Jeopardy Teachers Tournament.
After extending the $9,200 lead he brought into Friday’s game from the first day of the two-day final, Martin emerged as the winner of the two-week, 15 contestant tournament featuring teachers from across the country. His prize? A cool $100,000.
Martin filmed the Teachers Tournament episodes in March, but has kept mum about the outcome. He watched with a sparkling smile as broadcast of Friday’s Final Jeopardy concluded, and the Belinder gymnasium packed with students, parents and teachers erupted as his title became official.
Best to watch it for yourself:
Martin’s fellow finalists Claire Bishop, a Latin teacher at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Ky., and Steve Mond, a math teacher at Real Salt Lake Academy in Herriman, Utah, finished in second and third places, respectively, and take home earnings of $50,000 and $25,000.
Martin credited his students, who he calls “Martin’s Marvels,” with helping him prepare for the tournament.
“Since they’re learning about maps and map keys, in the last three days before my competition, we spent about 5 to 10 minutes each day with them looking in their atlases and posing clues to me about state and world capitals,” Martin said. “I thought it would be cool for them to actually help me prepare, and I’m very proud to report that at least one of my correct responses in the competition was directly helped by that practice.”
While Martin wowed Jeopardy fans with his dominant performance in categories dealing with antiquities, ancient empires and the arts, he knew he had a weakness in current popular culture. So when a hip-hop music category popped up in one round, he was nervous.
“It was a surreal moment, and not in a good way, when a category that was entirely about hip-hop music came up,” he said. “It was a great triumph, though, when I scored on ‘What is ‘Straight Outta Compton?’”
In addition to the healthy prize money, Martin bagged another coveted takeaway from his time on Jeopardy: An interview with Alex Trebek, which will be featured in a special edition of his class’s newsletter, the Marvel News, next week.