Dhruv Gaur emailed his economics professor he couldn’t be in class the week of the midterm exam.
His excuse? He would be taking a whole different kind of test as part of the “Jeopardy!” College Championship.
Gaur, a Lakeview Academy graduate, will appear Tuesday, April 10, in the tournament representing Brown University.
Dhruv Gaur on “Jeopardy!”
What: Lakeview Academy grad to appear on TV game show
When: 7:30 p.m. April 10
Channel: NBC, check local listings
“My (economics) teacher was like, ‘Don’t worry about it. You can take the two tests and the final and that will be your grade,’” Gaur said.
Gaur and 14 other college students will square off in the tournament for a shot at $100,000. The champion will also be eligible in the next Tournament of Champions.
The journey to Culver City, California, started with an online test in the fall. Months later, Gaur was invited to a live audition in Boston.
“At the live audition, they had us take another test and then they had us go up to the game board and practice answering questions. They also asked some questions about our personality. We had to write some fun facts about ourselves,” he said.
A Region 2 Star student, Gaur scored a perfect 1600 on his first attempt on the SAT and a perfect score of 5 on every Advanced Placement exam he took, according to Lakeview Academy officials.
Gaur is one of three freshmen in the 15-person field representing schools from across the country.
“It was almost a little intimidating, because you’re around a lot of very smart kids. ... Since it was in the Northeast, there were a lot of kids from Ivy League schools and very prestigious institutions. It was very intimidating, especially being a freshman at that audition,” he said.
In December, the call came: He was in the tournament.
While preparing for the show, he went through the show’s college tournaments since the turn of the century. Gaur watched the show daily and binged on old episodes online.
“A lot of people watch Jeopardy like they take multivitamins, just every day. It’s just part of their regimen, and I guess that’s how it kind of works in our house,” Gaur said.
He even started picking up the New York Times crossword puzzle.
“I don’t think it helped me much, but it was kind of a fun habit to pick up,” Gaur said of the puzzles.
And then, there is the buzzer. The art of beating your opponent by milliseconds has been dissected online by past contestants.
“A lot of people say use the toilet paper holder in your house, but at college, we didn’t have any of those. I just used a pen and clicked a pen a bunch of times to practice the buzzers, but I was kind of used to it from academic bowl in high school,” Gaur said.
For the promotional video, the Gainesville native was asked what category would be his bread and butter.
“I guess I know a good amount about a lot of things, but I don’t know if I know everything about any one specific thing, so I think I said something like ‘Indian food,’” he said.
His former teachers attested to that fact, as he has been widely regarded as a well-rounded student.
“I think every teacher at Lakeview would probably argue over what subject he is the best in. We all think that our subject is his subject, because he makes us all feel like our subject is the best,” said Shannon Ball, Gaur’s Lakeview Academy English teacher.
Gaur once taught Ball’s class on Percy Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” when she needed a substitute. Science teacher Clyde Wylie said one of Gaur’s most impressive qualities was his “ability to understand what the other students struggled with and fill in the blanks that maybe I left.”
“I’ve been blessed to have a lot of students, but to be as successful as he has been and will be and to remain humble, that’s always amazed me about Dhruv,” Lakeview Academy Dean of Students John Simpson said.
Gaur will face off Tuesday against a student at the University of Oklahoma and another from Columbia University.