''Jeopardy'' host Alex Trebek and BVU graduate Brooks Humphreys.
Appearing on “Jeopardy” with a chance to win some big money.
What was an item on Brooks Humphreys’ bucket list?
Alex Trebek would rule that as a correct answer.
Humphreys, a 1993 graduate of the Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies Council Bluffs location, has been an avid fan of the television quiz show since the 1960s. He rejoiced when it returned to television in the 1980s, but nothing could match his excitement at being chosen to appear on the show.
“I auditioned six times – four times in Los Angeles and twice online,” Humphreys said. “With the online test, you sign up and they e-mail you 50 questions. You have 15 seconds to answer each one, so you better be good at typing too. They contact those with the best scores and ask them to select a nearby city for the next step in the audition process.”
Humphreys was invited to Kansas City in June, where he took another 50-question test and played a simulation game with two other people. At this phase, there was also a brief question and answer session.
Humphreys returned to his job, teaching social studies at Mercy High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Omaha, while he waited to learn whether or not he would appear on the game show.
“When I got the call in November that I’d been selected, I about went through the roof,” he says. “The girls in my class screamed with excitement. You might say they screeched. It was a really exciting day.”
Humphreys and his wife, Cindy, flew out to Los Angeles the third week of January. In just two days, they filmed 10 days’ worth of tournament shows for broadcast. Humphreys made it to the final round, which will begin airing on Monday, Feb. 27. Although he won’t reveal how he finished, being a finalist means he is eligible for a cash prize of $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000. The funds have been earmarked for a kitchen remodel.
Humphreys, father to Connor and Kate, is in his 19th year of teaching and his third at Mercy. He originally earned a degree in government from Notre Dame in 1976 and began working in journalism. He worked in radio, print and broadcast, ending his run as news director at Cable News in Council Bluffs. At that point, he decided he wanted to shift gears.
“My mother was a teacher, so she continually suggested I should look into it. I guess she thought I would have a knack for it,” Humphreys says. “I have enjoyed it, so I guess she was right.”
He completed his bachelor’s degree in education at BVU’s Council Bluffs location in less than two years. That includes student teaching and extra emphasis on history classes to fulfill his area of teaching interest.
“It was a perfect fit for me. I was able to work during the day and go to school at nights,” Humphreys says. “The staff was always so helpful and ready to help with whatever I needed. I was also really impressed with the challenge of the program. When I took the Nebraska Certification Test, I was very prepared. BV expects their teachers to be good, and they don’t let you leave if you’re not. I really can’t say enough about what BV did for me.”