Ben Henri, a 7th-12th grade vocal music teacher at Grosse Pointe North and Parcells Middle School is from St. Clair Shores, and won the 2020 Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament.
He captured the $100,000 grand prize and a berth in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions. Meggie Kwait, a 5th and 6th grade humanities teacher from New York, N.Y., finished in second place and claimed $50,000, while Will Satterwhite, an 8th-12th grade band and choir teacher from Vinton, Va., finished third and went home with $25,000.
Henri went into the last moments of the tournament with a slight lead over Kwait, and he knew he had a good chance of winning when he read the Final Jeopardy! clue - Category: 18th Century Novels.
Clue: The title character of this 1726 novel reaches 4 different lands as a result of a shipwreck, a storm at sea, pirates & mutiny.
“As soon as the last clue came up on Day 2 of the finals, I threw a party in my head,” Henri said. “I read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ in high school and watched the Ted Danson miniseries three or four times growing up. I also explained it to my quiz bowl students earlier in the school year because it comes up regularly in competition.”
Henri, who had taken the Jeopardy! test several times before making it on to the show, said “his emotions got the better of him” when he won the tournament.
“After the win, the rush of emotions was overwhelming,” said Henri. “My family, friends, and students have given me so much, and I kept thinking, 'What on earth did I do to be in this moment? I can't possibly deserve this.' Combined with the post-adrenaline comedown, it made it difficult to get through a sentence without losing my composure.”
“I was also immensely grateful for having such down-to-earth and supportive competitors,” he continued. “This group of teachers is really special, and most of us are still in touch, which has been helpful as we’re all facing isolation.”
The 2020 Teachers Tournament was taped in early February, before shut-down orders were in effect. Jeopardy! will continue with original episodes, shot before production stopped, on Monday, June 8. To learn more, please visit Jeopardy.com.