Leverett Sophomore Competes on Jeopardy!

Anthony P. Dedousis ’11 takes early lead but falters on final question

For Anthony P. Dedousis ’11, Jeopardy! was simply a TV show that “everyone in America over age of 65 watched.”

But last night, the Leverett sophomore helped the show reach out to viewers in a younger demographic, as he represented Harvard on the Jeopardy! College Championship as one of 15 college students nationwide selected this year.

Dedousis appeared on the show against two students—one from Princeton and one from Rice.

But his incorrect answer on the “Final Jeopardy” question eliminated him from the tournament.

Dedousis’s path to Jeopardy was relatively straightforward, he said.

Encouraged by Jonathan Hawley ’10—who competed in last year’s college tournament—Dedousis took the online exam last October and was then called for a second round of rigorous group interviews in mid-November.

Since only the students accepted for the show are contacted, Dedousis said he had forgotten all about Jeopardy! as the months went by—until Spring Break, when he was notified.

“I don’t remember hearing much after that. I was so excited,” he said, adding that his high school did not even have a quiz bowl team. “It took all I had to not to scream like a moron in front of everyone on the bus.”

As surprised as Dedousis was about being selected to compete, his friend Peter G. Bacon ’11 said that he was “not at all” shocked.

“Anthony is incredibly bright…as soon as he told me he was trying out for Jeopardy, I could see him on the show,” Bacon said.

Dedousis—who had never been to California before—said that he arrived excited to meet the other contestants, explore Los Angeles, and, of course, see the host Alex Trebek.

According to Dedousis, his nervousness peaked right before his round.

“I was bordering on hyperventilation,” he said. “The people powdered my face, again.”

Dedousis said his nervousness diminished after walking on stage, and as he focused on the game—and which camera to look at.

“A million thoughts were going through my head,” he said. “It’s finally real!”

Faced with categories such as “Literature” and “Only One Vowel,” Dedousis moved into first place after correctly answering a “Daily Double” in the second half of the show.

But Dedousis’s lead was short-lived.

After incorrectly answering the final question, his score plummeted, leaving him in last place and eliminating him from the preliminary round of the tournament.

Though the show only lasts for half an hour, Dedousis said that his experience was “one of a lifetime.”

“I now have a story that I can tell for the rest of my life over dinners,” he said.

—Staff writer Helen X. Yang can be reached at hxyang@fas.harvard.edu.