Nguyen reflects on his three-game ‘Jeopardy!’ run

Madison Abbassi, Senior Staff Writer

After two wins and one near-miss, Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen’s time on ‘Jeopardy!’ has ended. The Paly Voice spoke to the game-show winner to learn more about his strategies and reflections.

According to Nguyen, his favorite result from being on the show has been the outpouring of community support.

Palo Alto High School math teacher and two-time ‘Jeopardy!’ winner Daniel Nguyen smiles at a viewing party for the show on May 11. “I hope people continue to watch and can’t wait for another Viking to get on the show,” Nguyen said. His run on the show lasted for three games, and many members of the Paly community tuned in to follow their teacher’s progress on the show. (Photo: Madison Abbassi)

“Of course, being on TV and winning money is great, but [what] I really am happy about is seeing so many students, teachers, and people from the Paly community get excited about watching a game I’ve loved since I was a child,” Nguyen stated in a message to The Paly Voice.

Nguyen also enjoyed the opportunity to meet other contestants who shared the same love for ‘Jeopardy!’ trivia.

“One behind-the-scenes thing that viewers might not think about is all of the contestants from an entire week of shows all tape on the same day, and as a result, I’ve made a lot of new friends,” Nguyen said.

One of the most nerve-wracking moments from Nguyen’s time on the show was his incorrect ‘Final Jeopardy!’ answer on Friday night. Nguyen entered the final round in first place — and fell to third after both competitors answered correctly.

The final question, “This state was named for a man born in Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover in 1683,” caused Nguyen to draw a blank.

“The plan when I saw the category ‘State Names’ was to go through the 50 States song that I learned in elementary school and hope that I remembered enough of it to get to the correct response,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he primarily focused on the location of the palace in the clue.

“Here’s what went down in my brain: Hanover … Germany … Hamburg is in Germany … Hampshire sounds like Hamburg … but ‘shire’ is an English word … and then 25 seconds of tunnel vision,” Nguyen said.

The correct answer was the state of Georgia, which was named after King George II, born in 1683 in Hanover.

Despite the near-miss in his final round, Nguyen said he truly enjoyed being on ‘Jeopardy!’.

“My favorite part of being on the show is definitely being able to share this experience with my family, friends, and Paly community,” Nguyen said.