“Jeopardy has always been a huge part of my life and my family’s life,” says Avi.
Indian American whiz kid Avi Gupta of Portland, Oregon, has won the Teen Tournament of Jeopardy, the most popular televised quiz show in America, bagging the grand prize of $100,000.
Following his big win, Avi, who just graduated from high school, stated, “It still feels unreal and I honestly can’t express how grateful and fortunate I feel to have had this opportunity.”
The 17-year-old professed, “Jeopardy has always been a huge part of my life and my family’s life. It’s a special bonding connection with my grandma who is a huge fan.”
His mother, Nandita Gupta, was equally elated after some nail-biting rounds in the final contest. “As a mother, my heart was beating one hundred miles per hour,” she confessed.
“I think the thing about Avi is his perseverance,” she said. “For Avi, most importantly, I could see the effort he has put in throughout the year. So, I wanted to just have him have a happy, wholesome experience. And the win was the cherry on top.”
Avi tested his trivia knowledge competing against 14 other bright teens from across the country including an Indian American sophomore, Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan. “Everyone here is insanely talented and really, really smart and they are going to go on to do amazing things,” Avi said.
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Ryan Pressler of South Dakota, an eighth grader, bagged second place in the teen tournament and was awarded $50,000 and Lucas Miner of Florida, a junior, finished third and took home $25,000.
At one point during the tournament, renowned host Alex Trebek asked the three finalists to make some remarks.
Avi recalled how some people had asked him why he wanted to compete in the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament when the answers can be found on the search engine giant Google.
His response: “Facts are the building blocks of all opinions and all beliefs. And for that reason, I think it’s really important to know them.”
With a smile, Trebek asked Avi to trade places with him. “I’ll be the contestant. You be the host,” he said.
Avi has just graduated from Catlin Gabel, a venerable private school in southwest Portland. Come Fall and he heads to Columbia University in New York to pursue a major in computer science and a minor in economics.
About the Teen Tournament, it is held each season on Jeopardy!, a game show that dates back more than five decades, and is open to school students between the ages of 13 and 17.
It is noteworthy that last year, an Indian American student, Dhruv Gaur, won the Jeopardy! College Championship. A freshman at Brown University, Dhruv took home the top prize of $100,000.