Students support Nguyen at ‘Jeopardy!’ viewing party

Madison Abbassi, Senior Staff Writer

Students and staff alike gathered in the Media Arts Center during lunch Thursday to watch the latest ‘Jeopardy!’ episode featuring Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen.

Students at Palo Alto High School crowd into all three floors of the Media Arts Center to watch math teacher Daniel Nguyen’s first episode on ‘Jeopardy!’. “I did see a clip of his [Mr. Nguyen’s] appearance yesterday, but I wanted to see it again with everyone else,” senior Cynthia Zhang said. As Mr. Nguyen emerged victorious from the round, the room filled with applause. (Photo: Madison Abbassi)

The show was projected on a large screen as students crowded to fill all three floors of the MAC, clapping as Mr. Nguyen correctly answered 17 of the 20 questions he was asked.

When the episode reached Mr. Nguyen’s iconic $5,801 wager of “What is Sko Vikes,” the massive crowd of students erupted into cheers, appreciating the surprise reference to the school’s catchphrase.

Towards the end of the viewing party, Mr. Nguyen stood at the front of the room, answering questions. Students asked him about everything from his preparation for the show to the numerical significance of his $5,801 wager (a calculated bet to keep him just ahead of the second-place contestant).

According to Nguyen, he hoped his appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ would encourage students in the Paly community to become lifelong learners.

“Hopefully, they [students] start continuing to want to learn more, and just embrace knowledge,” Nguyen said. “Another big goal is hopefully I see one of you guys on the show real soon.”

Many students were inspired by seeing one of their teachers competing in ‘Jeopardy!’, including senior Cynthia Zhang, a former student of Nguyen.

“It was really nice to see Mr. Nguyen on live television and answering the questions so well,” Zhang said. “I was very impressed.”

Zhang said Nguyen’s responses to audience questions at the viewing party helped her to understand more about his journey to the show.

“Mr. Nguyen was there, and he provided a lot of insightful commentary into his experience and preparation process,” Zhang said. “It was also great seeing the energy of the room and cheering along.”

The second episode of ‘Jeopardy!’ featuring Nguyen will air 7 p.m. Thursday night on ABC.