Miami teacher didn’t win his semifinal ‘Jeopardy!’ round, but lived his dream

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“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and Miami-Dade teacher Matthew Bunch, who will appear in Tuesday’s episode of the Annual Teachers Tournament on “Jeopardy!”
“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and Miami-Dade teacher Matthew Bunch, who will appear in Tuesday’s episode of the Annual Teachers Tournament on “Jeopardy!” ‘Jeopardy!’

When Matthew Bunch, a teacher at AcadeMir Charter School Middle in west Miami-Dade, first learned he’d be in the “Jeopardy!” Teachers Tournament, he had a goal in mind.

“All I wanted to do was make it out of the first round,” he said.

He did that after being selected as a wild card player by winning $9,600 in his Quarterfinal round, which aired May 7.

And on Wednesday, he played against a high school art teacher and a high school world history teacher. He came in second place again, this time finishing with $9,300. Just for appearing in the semifinals, Bunch, 31, took home $10,000. The first-place winner finished with $19,201 and will advance to the finals, which will air Thursday and Friday.

Bunch said Wednesday he will use the money to pay off credit cards and “sneak in a trip.”

The final category — similar to the first round — tripped Bunch up. When Russian composers came up, he said, he knew he couldn’t bet a lot.

“I was just hoping they wouldn’t know it either,” he said.

Going into the tournament, he said he had studied and prepared as much as he could, but there is nothing like actually being there.

He said there is so much more to the game show than knowing the answers.

“You have to deal with the lights, the buzzer, the timer and the fear of getting a question wrong and losing money,” he said. “

But as for the overall experience, he said it is not something he would forget anytime soon.

“”This has been one of the joys of my life,” said Bunch, who always loved the show. “Now that it’s over, it’s bittersweet.”


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