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Jeopardy Champion Guy Enjoying First Year At Empower

Jeopardy Champion Guy Enjoying First Year At Empower

This is Jeopardy

Those are the words spoken at the start of the iconic game show Jeopardy, a trivia show that has been on the air since 1964, pitting three contestants against one another answering questions from various categories, each with their own monetary value assigned to the question. The person with the most money at the end of the show wins that day’s game. 

Since the show’s inception, Cheryl Guy dreamed of being a contestant. 

After all, she liked to read and was a World Geography and World History teacher. She knew she was the perfect fit. The process, though, is not easy.

“I have always loved trivia,” said Guy, who openly admits she is riding a 530-day streak of successfully getting the Wordle word each day.

“When Trivial Pursuit came out, I was in college. And I am banned from playing it with my family. I am super competitive and I love random facts. I immediately started trying to get onto (Jeopardy).”

After years of applying, taking the Jeopardy quiz on multiple occasions — the first time coming in 1986 — and not having her number called several times forcing her to reapply, Guy gave it another shot in 2016. She admits, her commitment to applying and taking the quiz was a bit extreme.

“I got a call to come audition in Charleston, South Carolina, in May,” Guy said. “My husband was actually supposed to have a heart catheterization on that day and he rescheduled it so I could go. I think in my interview that day I said, ‘I got my husband to reschedule his heart cath so I could be here. If anything happens I am in big trouble.’”

Thankfully for Guy, nothing bad happened and her interview and quiz went well. 

“In August (2016), I was in a pep rally for my school, I looked down at my phone and I had a missed call from Culver City, California,” Guy said. “I called them back and they said they wanted me to come out and be on the show.”

Jeopardy films all five shows for one week on a Monday, and after sitting through a few recordings, it was her time to shine. 

“It was me and two other women on that day’s show,” Guy said. “I was the only one to get the Final Jeopardy question right. We were very close going into Final Jeopardy and the question was about religious terms. I grew up Southern Baptist, I am Presbyterian now, I had taught world religions. I thought ‘I am going to get this.’ I answered it correctly and won." 

Guy won $20,600 and was invited to play the next game. After a wardrobe change, it was on to film the next night’s show. She once again had a lead heading into the Final Jeopardy question. This time, though, she didn’t get it right. And she bet big on her confidence.

“None of us got it right,” Guy said. “It was a triple stumper. I had bet big. The category was world geography and I just knew I was going to get it. Another guy who didn’t bet much, he won it.”

That time on Jeopardy was January 12 and 13, 2017. Fast forward to 2024 and Guy is a history teacher at the Empower College and Career Center. While being able to play on the show Jeopardy was a bucket list item for Guy — especially meeting legendary host Alex Trebek — teaching a classroom full of students each day is her true passion. 

Guy’s experience in public education spans four decades. From teacher to school administrator to retirement in South Carolina to back into a classroom in Georgia, Guy has seen and done a lot. 

“I had become a school administrator, was an assistant principal, opened a new high school, and then became principal of that school three years later,” said Guy, who graduated from the University of South Carolina with five different degrees.

“I had been in education well over 30 years at that point. I missed the classroom. I taught a class as a principal. I taught AP Human Geography, fifth-period, right after lunch each day. It just really reminded me of how much I love this, being with kids. So I talked to my husband and decided I would retire from the state of South Carolina and we would move back to this part of Georgia that we love so much.”

Guy’s love for Northeast Georgia began in 1995, when she and her husband moved to Gainesville when he was promoted at work. The couple welcomed their daughter to the family while living here. The couple moved back to Columbia, S.C. in 2000, with another promotion at her husband’s job.

“I loved this area,” Guy said. “It was some of the happiest times of my life. I love the scenery, the people. It was just wonderful.”

Now settled into the Jackson County community, Guy says she gets up each day and cannot wait to get into a classroom with students at Empower.

“First off, I just love coming in here and getting to know our kids and watching them mature,” Guy said. “They keep you young. They keep you in touch with current music, movies, whatever. It is just a happy place to me and I love being here at Empower. This is such a great school.”

“First off, I just love coming in here and getting to know our kids and watching them mature,” Guy said. “They keep you young. They keep you in touch with current music, movies, whatever. It is just a happy place to me and I love being here at Empower. This is such a great school.”

Guy teaches primarily seniors this year in the subject of economics and personal finance. She says she enjoys being able to teach them the real-world application and something they will utilize each day. 

“I tell kids, their math teacher may tell them they will use advanced algebra the rest of their life, and they may,” Guy said. “But I guarantee you that you will use this course every day for the rest of your life. And they are interested. They want to learn about money, how to get more of it and retire someday.” 

One thing Guy says she noticed quickly with being at Empower is the community feel of Jackson County. Even with students from two different high schools attending the same career academy, Guy said she felt the Jackson County community presence. 

“The kids get along great here,” Guy said. “If there is any sort of school rivalry, it is a very fun, surface thing. I had football players in the fall, I had boys playing for both schools. And they were encouraging each other and cheering each other on. If they weren’t facing each other on the field, they wanted each other to do well.

“I think that is really unique. I have taught in districts where the high schools had these bitter rivalries and the kids were negative. I don’t sense that here at all. It feels like the whole district is a family that pulls for each other and supports each other. When something happens at another school, we all cheer for that.”

With an extensive background in public education, Guy says her advice for young educators getting into the profession is to enjoy the job and each day’s offerings.

“You have to find the joy in the classroom and if you can’t find that, you need to find another profession,” Guy said. “You need to look forward to coming to work every day. There are headaches, there are things that are the less fun parts of this job. But you need to want to be here and to love the kids.”

For Guy, she plans to remain at Empower for the next several years. And she is always willing to give it another shot on Jeopardy.