- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2002

With the long-running Prince George's County school system's soap opera having seemingly achieved the dubious status of permanent fiasco, along comes Bernard Holloway, a 16-year-old junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt. Bernard has provided what is arguably the brightest ray of sunlight to shine above that long-beleaguered school system in a very long time.
Against almost incalculable odds, the honor student won the 2002 "Jeopardy!" Teen Tournament. A native of Mitchellville and attendee of county public schools since kindergarten, the Mitchellville native is one of more than 15 million high school students in the nation. About 10,000 of them applied to the "Jeopardy!" Teen Tournament," all of whom took what "Jeopardy!" describes as a grueling written examination. Interviews and auditions followed until the applicant pool was whittled down to 15 contestants. The first week of the two-week competition involved five games, each pitting three contestants against one another. The five first-round winners were joined by the four highest-scoring losing contestants to do battle in round two. During the first three days of the second week, the nine candidates were whittled down to three. These three victors then faced one another in a two-day test of knowledge, wits and strategy. Bernard proved to be an undisputed master of all three.
As Jeopardy! addicts know all too well, strategy plays a crucial role in making each game's Final Jeopardy wager. Entering the second day's Final Jeopardy round in third place, Bernard, humbly if not convincingly admitting that he knew "absolutely nothing about 20th century British novels," strategically made a low wager. The cagey Bernard shrewdly knew that if the two leaders, who had to make sufficiently high wagers in order to protect against each other, failed to answer correctly, he just might emerge victoriously even if he, too, gave the wrong answer. The strategy played out perfectly. All three contestants answered incorrectly, but it was Bernard who snatched the title in a brilliant come-from-behind gambit.
With the title, of course, come eternal bragging rights, though Bernard, who, amazingly enough, also serves on the county's school board as its student representative, hardly seems the type to exercise that option. Oh, the 16-year-old, who envisions being a politician and a lawyer representing athletes, also won $50,000 and a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible. Most of the money will be earmarked for his college fund, although such a highly accomplished young man would seem to have earned a scholarship to the college of his choice.
As for his new "ride" or however Generation Y refers to its "wheels" let Bernard elaborate. "My parents are worried about that, but they don't need to be," he told The Washington Post. "I'm a very good driver, very responsible. That won't change when I'm driving my convertible." Well, that settles it. There is somebody smart and reasonable and well-grounded on the Prince George's school board after all.

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