Local teacher competing for $100,000 on Jeopardy

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News 12 This Morning/Monday Nov. 4, 2013

"I've always watched Jeopardy and one time when I was watching they said there was an online test that we could take to see if we qualified and I thought 'what the heck, I might as well give it a shot," said Becky Giardina.

A 7th grade social studies teacher at Burke County Middle School, Giardina says she wasn't sure what would happen after she took the Jeopardy online qualifier test.

"I get some answers while I'm playing on my couch, so I took the online test and about two months later I got an email," she explained.

She had been called up for an in person audition.

"...Which was a 50 question test that we had to write out," she said, "And then we played a mock game."

Months passed by with no word. And then--

"I got a phone call one afternoon and at first I thought it was a joke," she explained."I thought somebody's playing a joke on me, but it was for real."

She was heading to Los Angeles to compete in the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament against 14 other teachers across the US and Canada--for $100,000.

"It was like it wasn't actually happening to me. It was really hard to believe that they were actually calling me," she said.

Giardina tells me she couldn't wait to tell her students.

"Some of them weren't really sure what Jeopardy was," she said. "They asked me if it was the one where you spin the wheel. I had to tell them, no...that's not the right one. But they're pretty excited."

She says now she's using the experience to help motivate them.

"I'd actually taken the online test three times and I had been to an in person audition before but didn't get a call back," she explained. "So I told them, 'if there's something that you really want to do, keep trying.'"

One of her students, Jesse'ca Palmer, tells me she appreciates the inspiration.

"I feel that she really motivates me and sometimes I think I want to be a teacher like Mrs. G," said Palmer.

Giardina's already made her trip to Los Angeles to tape the show, but can't talk about the results until after the show airs.

The tournament airs Monday, November 11th and Giardina will be on Thursday, November 14th.

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