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H-F teacher appears on ‘Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament’ starting Monday

There was a buzz at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on Friday as word spread that teacher Michael Camp would be appearing as a contestant on “Jeopardy!”

  H-F High Spanish teacher Michael Camp was greeted
  by Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy! Camp is a contestant
  on a special Teachers Tournament of Jeopardy!
  starting May 8. Photo provided by Jeopardy
  Productions, Inc.
(Provided photo)

There was a buzz at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on Friday as word spread that teacher Michael Camp would be appearing as a contestant on “Jeopardy!”

“It’s a dream come true,” the Spanish teacher said. “It’s surreal that I will be able to say I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ll have checked off a major life goal.”
Camp can’t say much about what viewers will see when they watch the quiz show airing at 3:30 p.m. weekdays on ABC-TV Channel 7, but he guarantees the two-week Teachers Tournament, starting Monday, May 8, will be different from the traditional “Jeopardy!”
“I hope people get the sense of excitement that we felt when we were on the show and they’ll enjoy the intrigue of the tournament as it progresses,” he said.
Camp started on his “Jeopardy!” odyssey several years ago by filling out an online profile and answering about 20 game show questions. He did that three or four times before making it to an in-person interview in Chicago which included another online game quiz. After acing that, he was given a live test in the same studio as “Windy City Live” and played a mock game against host Val Warner.
That was July 2015. Then he heard nothing for months, but he knew his name stayed in the guest pool for 16 months. He was planning to start the contestant process over when in November 2016 a producer called inviting him onto the show. 
He was flown to Los Angeles in March and spent two days with the program’s crew doing promotional videos and photography and then playing the game. Multiple games are filmed each day, and Camp was told to bring changes of clothes so it would appear as though it was a new day.
Camp didn’t make any special effort to prepare for his appearance, saying he’s been studying for more than 25 years. He started watching as a young boy on the couch with his grandfather in his native Philadelphia.
“Honestly, it’s just from watching the show forever and watching the computer game and the video game and the mobile app. I never read ‘Vanity Fair’ in my life, but I know that (William Makepeace) Thackeray is the author because I’ve seen the question a bunch of times,” he said. 
“I’ve always been the kind of person who only needs to see something once or twice and I memorize it, so it’s conducive for that,” he added.
Contestants seem to have their wits about them, but Camp remembers: “I was trying to click as fast as I can to get (an answer) in.”  Still, he admits there were plenty of questions that just didn’t register with him.
 “I was pleased with the boards that I got. There were some categories that definitely were not up my alley and others I felt pretty confident in,” he said.
Camp is receiving a $2,500 grant from Teachers Tournament sponsor Farmers Insurance for use at H-F. He intends to use the money to buy new furnishings or other equipment to make his classroom a comfortable space.

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