Story by Sabrina Santos
It is always exciting to experience a familiar face on the television and it helps brings people together to see their friends, relatives, or in this case, teachers, go into the limelight.
“Well, I’ve known Mr. Barron for a long time and he’s a good friend of mine, so I’ve always known that he is intelligent and a committed teacher,” social studies department chair Stephen Cox said, “this has always been one of his interests, so I was excited for him when he told me that he went through the rigorous process of being approved to make it on Jeopardy and it was exciting for all of us.”
The process of getting on Jeopardy was tough and social studies teacher Robert Barron, was not sure he would get the chance to be on the show.
“I took the online test to see how I’d do to become a contestant because that’s what you have to do to start. I created an account, took an online test, they don’t send you your score, but you have some idea on how you did,” Barron said, “Then they called me and asked me to do an audition in Charleston and there were maybe about 30 people there. There was another test and some more mock game play with buzzers in front of people and then I didn’t hear anything for months, so I just thought, ‘Ok, I tried out. That’s cool or whatever’, but then they called me in March and asked could I be on the show in April and I was like, ‘I don’t know’, but I did it and we taped it in April.”
Some students tuned in to watch Barron on Jeopardy, like junior Rylyn Parrott. She tuned into Jeopardy to watch him because he was representing our school and that was important to her. Others, like sophomore Karim Brazile, meant to watch it but was busy, or they were like freshman Logan Garrett and had a practice that day and could not watch it. There were some students that did not care for Jeopardy to begin with and did not watch it.
“I’m not particularly a big fan of jeopardy, but it was really inspirational to see someone I know be on the show.” senior Zachary Taylor said.
Even though some students did not show interests, there was still a number of supporters Barron had the night that Jeopardy aired.
“Some of the social studies teachers in the department arranged to get some tables at Carolina Wings over in Ballentine,” Barron said, “there were a couple of big screen TV’s in there and they cranked it up and turned it on and we were in there and ordered some food and we were just hanging out watching it.”
When Barron was on Jeopardy, he knew he was not only representing himself, but the whole school as well, especially the social studies department.
“He did a fantastic job. He was very poised and very confident, he had a very calm demeanor,” Cox said, “I thought that his performance was admirable. He had some very tough categories to deal with on Jeopardy, plus he ran into what we could call a buzz saw of a contestant who knew everything.”
Being on a show like Jeopardy can be seen as difficult. You not only have to be highly knowledgeable, but you also have to be quick in answering your questions and managing your time. You’re not just competing for correct answers, but also for time and quickness.
“Yeah, it is [frustrating], because the buzzer, the buzzer and being able to buzz in is a big part of it, of doing well on the show, and Austin, the returning guy on the show was a pro at that and he was able to buzz in really fast and there were several questions that I think that I knew and I was trying to buzz in.” Barron said, “The way it works is that you have a board with all of the categories and then on the sides of that there’s sort of a big structure with all of these lights, and so, he’s reading the question and when he finishes reading a light comes on and when the light comes on, you can buzz in and you have to be right on the money, but if you buzz in early, it locks you out for a fraction of a second, and so that’s why they tell you to hit the button really fast and it wasn’t as fast as my brain obviously. Of course, I did miss some questions too.”
Barron has become an inspiration for some of the students at Dutch Fork and they now want him as a teacher to learn not only classroom lessons, but the socratic methods and passion he has for learning and pushing to become better.
“Yes, [I would like him as a teacher] because I really want to meet him,” sophomore Karim Brazile said, “to see his teachings, so I could just learn from him.”