A new JEOPARDY! champion was crowned Tuesday when Colby Burnett, a 29-year-old AP World History and Regional World History teacher at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., bested 14 of the nation's brainiest K-12 educators to win the JEOPARDY! Teachers Tournament. Burnett will take home the $100,000 grand prize and a guaranteed spot in the upcoming February 2013 JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions.
Claiming victory in the name of Fenwick was particularly poignant for Burnett, who graduated from the private college preparatory school himself in 2001 before earning a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Northwestern University.
"I felt immense pride in representing my school as an employee and as an alumnus and I really turned it on when my students' encouraging send-off was shown at the first commercial break," said Burnett, who currently coaches the school's scholastic bowl team. "Winning the $100,000 means that I set out and achieved what I wanted to do."
Burnett intends to use his winnings to purchase a condominium in Oak Park for his mother, whom he credits with his thirst for knowledge.
"My mom has always supported me and I've wanted to give her a house for quite some time," said Burnett. "She moved back in with her parents once she was divorced; I was raised in my grandparents' house (in Oak Park), which we lost after my grandmother passed away. Truth be told, I didn't know if she would accept my offer!"
Michael Farabaugh, a chemistry teacher at Monticello High School from Charlottesville, Va., placed second in the tournament, winning $50,000. Third place went to Kate Wilson, an English teacher at Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School from Montgomery, Ala., who took home $25,000.