Who's Using the NCI-Frederick Scientific Library?

Written by Mr. Theodore Nikolaitchik, a senior at Tuscarora High School
September/October 2013

Jen Hofmann and Theodore Nikolaitchik

Jen Hoffman and I entered the Jeopardy tournament never expecting to win. Both of us had been involved in Academic Team in school and she had been team captain in the previous season. We had experience with trivia competitions before, but after scoping out the strength of our competition, we determined that victory was nowhere near assured. These were, after all, some of the brightest kids from the surrounding schools. They had all been accepted into the Werner H. Kirsten summer program. Nevertheless, as soon as we heard that there would be a Jeopardy tournament, we entered as a team.

So, when the big day came I was very excited. I arrived in full regalia, sporting a blue striped tie, an argyle sweater, and dress pants. I instantly felt overdressed. Jen and I scoped the room for our opponents. Among them we saw familiar faces of other students who we had encountered before during Academic Team. Nervously, we both took our seats to wait for our turn in the preliminary rounds.

After the game, I realized that the incredible tension of the final match stemmed from the fact that the three strongest teams were separated in the preliminary rounds. Those three teams facing off together in the final round is what gave the match its intensity, I won't shy away from the fact that Jen and I won because of a great influx of luck. We were losing badly in Single Jeopardy and only by some miracle did we manage to get both Daily Doubles in the second round. In the end, Jen and I bet everything in the final round and won because the other team accidentally didn't bet the amount they intended.

Whatever the circumstances, that hour shall stand as one of the most nail-biting in my life. I hope to enter again next year and again match wits with some of the most intelligent people around.