Another Saint John-born teacher snags spot on Jeopardy!
Christopher Fennell is the second teacher from Saint John to appear on the long-running quiz show
Another Saint John-born teacher will make an appearance on the TV game show Jeopardy!
Saint John-born Christopher Fennell grew up in Saint John and now teaches at the University of Ottawa.
He's the second person from the city to appear on the long-running quiz show after Maryanne Lewell, who in 2013 was the only Canadian to qualify for the Jeopardy! teachers tournament.
Fennell, a self-described lifelong "trivia geek," started the application process after a friend passed on a link to the Jeopardy! online test. He performed well enough to be invited to Chicago for an in-person test and interview.
After months of waiting, he got the call just a few minutes before a class.
"I was just about to start teaching when I saw a number on my phone that I didn't recognize," he said. "I thought, 'well, I should probably take this phone call.'"
After the woman on the phone identified herself a representative from Jeopardy! "I went back in and told them we were going to start class about 10 minutes late," he said. "I was super excited."
Brushing up on U.S. history
The biggest challenge in the ensuing months of preparation, he said, was brushing up on his U.S. history.
"As a Canadian, I don't know a lot about the presidential histories and state capitals," he said. "Studying America was my big focus."
One technique to prep for the show's notoriously finicky buzzer system, he said, was to watch along with the show at home with an object in hand in an attempt to "buzz in" the answers.
"That's a very helpful strategy," he said.
Arriving at the studio for the taping was "overwhelming in a good way," he said. "In the first 10 minutes you're star-struck and not sure what's going on. Once you relax, it becomes a much better experience."
A confidentiality agreement prohibits him from divulging the details about the show, which was filmed in the spring —including what he and Alex Trebek talked about when the Canadian-born host made his customary introductory pass up the line of contestants.
"It might have something to do with where I work and what I do because he's also a University of Ottawa alumnus," Fennell said.
Fennell will be featured on Tuesday night's episode of Jeopardy!
The show will air in Atlantic Canada at 8:30 p.m. on WBZ.
While he'll be tuning in from a bar in Ottawa with his trivia team, Fennell said his parents, aunts, and uncles will be watching from home in Saint John.
Without revealing the outcome, he said, the show was a "very positive experience."
"I have no regrets."
With files from Information Morning Saint John