Thomas Horn is only 12 years old but he already earned $31,800 this summer. And he did it in less than an hour.
In his national TV appearance, which aired July 9, the Piedmont Middle School eighth-grader played "Jeopardy!" and answered enough questions correctly to win the most money of the three-contestant panel. The show, part of "Jeopardy's! Kids Week," had been scheduled for broadcast July 8, but the live news coverage of the Mehserle trial verdict protest in downtown Oakland pre-empted regular programming.
Tom wasn't available for comment after the show aired here, but his mother, Biljana Horn, who went to the taping along with Tom's father, Erich, and his 10-year-old brother, Philip, said the family got to the see the broadcast in Boston during a family reunion.
She said the family was nervous during the taping because the competition was so strong, but when they got to the last category, U.S. government, they calmed down.
"Thomas isn't strong in pop culture, but he really enjoys history, literature and government so we knew he'd do well," she said. "When we were in Boston, we were with family and friends and watched it on a big-screen TV. We were lucky we were somewhere that the show was being aired the day it was planned because we would have been disappointed if we'd been home and it didn't come on."
In addition to winning first place, Thomas also won a trip to Alaska for the entire family. They leave for Juneau on
Horn likely would have won an even bigger haul, but another contestant, Jessica Anderson from Rhode Island, was a speed reader, Biljana Horn said, and she was quick to press the button with answers. She won $20,800 and Caroline Evans of Maryland won $4,600. Not bad for less than 60 minutes. How many adults make that kind of money?
For that matter, how many adults can correctly answer questions like these in a few seconds (without rushing to Google for assistance)?
"This Scandinavian capital founded around 1050 lies at the head of a fjord."
"In your house, what the French call la cuisine we call this room."
"This Alpine city is the capital of a Canton as well as the capital of a country, Switzerland."
To see all of the questions, and the answers from that game, and which contestant answered which one correctly, go to www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3432.