Class of 1993 Graduate Imar DaCunha Jr. on Jeopardy!
Santa Fe Catholic High School is proud of all our Graduates and once in a while we are able to see those grads display their knowledge and skill in public. One of our alums Imar DaCunha participated on everyone's favorite show Jeopardy! on Wednesday, May 1st. How EXCITING for Imar and the entire Hawk Family.
Imar who is a UCF Graduate resides in Orlando explained the process to become a Jeopardy! contestant.
Being on Jeopardy! is a little like getting married. It can take months, even years, to get there and when the big day finally arrives it all goes by in a flash. Way back in April 2018, I took the Jeopardy! online test. Anyone can sign up to take it and it's kind of like a speed date--50 clues, 15 seconds to type an answer, and it's over in 13 minutes. The producers told us that last year about 80,000 people took it. If you do well enough on the test, you're invited to a regional audition. About 4,000 invites go out and the auditions are held in around ten cities. At the auditions, you take a 50-question written test and play a short, live game against two other players. Then the contestant supervisors basically say "Thanks for your time. Don't call us, we'll call you!"
Every season, about 400 players get a chance to appear on the show. So when I got the call in early February, I was equally excited and nervous. Part of that was because of our unique family history. You see, my wife Carly was on Jeopardy! in 2012. She didn't win, but all her answers were correct, including her Final Jeopardy answer (which stumped me). In the end, the excitement of being on my favorite game show won out and in late February we flew to LA.
Jeopardy! tapes five shows a day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so they do two weeks' worth of shows in two days. We arrived at Sony Studios around 7:30 a.m. and were taken straight to the Jeopardy! soundstage (right next to the Wheel of Fortune stage). My fellow players and I, there were 11 of us, were taken to the green roo
m for makeup and orientation. We chatted with each other and asked the producers questions. My favorite: "What do we do if we freeze?" Answer: "Shake it off like T-Swift." About an hour later we were in the studio along with the audience and soon the first two contestants, along with the returning champ, were onstage. And that was when we finally saw Alex!
Everything that happened after that is pretty much a blur. It really was like my wedding day in the sense that it was exciting and went by fast. One thing that I learned is that buzzer timing is monumentally important. Buzz in too early and you're locked out for half a second. Buzz in too late and you've missed your window. Li
ke a lot of things in life, timing is everything.
As Alex has said, Jeopardy! truly represents the best of reality television. It's a show that anyone can watch, enjoy, and learn from.
The week after the taping, Alex announced that he was battling pancreatic cancer. We could tell he was in pain, but he still took the time to answer audience questions and take photos with all the contestants.
He is pretty much what you see on TV--a gentleman and a scholar.
I'll always be grateful that I had an opportunity to be part of this great American institution and hope that someday our clever daughter will be able to continue what's become a little family tradition.
You can go to https://www.jeopardy.com/contestant-zone to read a more about Santa Fe Catholic High School Graduate Imar DaCunha and all the contestants on Jeopardy!.