Gilbert Junior High School Student Competes on Jeopardy! Kids Week

Despite criticism of the Valley's educational system and its students, a girl from a Metro Phoenix school landed a pretty cerebral gig. Andrea Salt, 12, of Gilbert was one of 15 kids chosen by the producers of quiz show Jeopardy! to compete on the program's "Kids Week"  -- scheduled to be aired Monday, July 5, through Friday, July 9.  

Andrea, who attends Gilbert Junior High School, went through a rigorous series of tests and auditions to land a spot on Jeopardy! Kids Week, which pits the nation's smartest 10- to 12-year-olds in a battle of the brains. Maggie Speak, contestant producer for the show, describes the selection process:
"First, all the kids took an online test. Out of those who passed, we randomly selected a mix to attend in-person auditions. At these auditions, we give a written test, play a mock version of Jeopardy! and do an interview, like the one they would do with Alex [Trebek] on the show."

The show's producers whittled down the contestants to 15 after the in-person auditions.
"We have very difficult decisions to make, we so so many great kids," Speak says. "All 15 [who] are on the show have done well on all aspects of their in-person audition, playing well and having a good time while playing well."

Andrea tells us her strongest subjects are math and science, but she's not so confident in geography. And while she's sworn to secrecy about what happened on the shows (taped in Los Angeles the week of March 8) and can't tell us which specific question was hardest for her, she did say her hardest category was Radio Disney.
When she isn't honing her quiz skills or doing homework, Andrea says she likes to read, talk on amateur radio, and knit.

The winner of each Jeopardy! Kids Week show will receive a minimum guarantee of $15,000. Of course, Andrea can't tell us if she won the the money, but -- if she did -- she says she would buy a laptop computer.
The winners of each show will also receive a vacation package to one of five locales: Arctic Norway; Costa Rica and the Panama Canal; Baja, Mexico; or the Galapagos Islands. Andrea says she'd most like to visit the Galapagos Islands: "They have such unique wildlife there that I'd like to photograph."

Jeopardy! airs locally on ABC 15 weeknights at 5 p.m.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea