Competition too steep for Midlands teacher on Jeopardy!

Robert Barron, a teacher from Columbia on the right, is pictured with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.
Robert Barron, a teacher from Columbia on the right, is pictured with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.

Dutch Fork High School history teacher, Robert Barron, came in second on the TV quiz show, Jeopardy!, Thursday night.

It was a slow start for the teacher of 23 years but his negative score after the Jeopardy round allowed him to go first in the Double Jeopardy round.

At show’s end however, returning champ, Austin, blew his challengers away finishing up with $36,200 to Barron’s $600 and $0 for Emily.

The Final Jeopardy answer: Once its own city, it joined with a neighbor in 1898; today on its own it would be the 4th most populous city in the U.S.

Final Jeopardy question: What is Brooklyn?

Barron has been teaching for 23 years, 21 of them at Dutch Fork, according to the school district’s website.

He is a 1989 graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he got a B.A. in History. He also received two post-graduate degrees from USC, including a M.A. in History in 1994, and a M.A. T. in Social Studies in 1995.

This is “Jeopardy’s” 34th season in syndication, with an estimated 23 million viewers watching each week.

Barron isn’t the only person with connections to Columbia to compete on “Jeopardy” in the past year. Columbia native Nilanka Seneviratne competed on two episodes in April, winning $7,601.

Born and raised in Columbia, Seneviratne attended Rosewood and Brennan elementary schools, Hand Middle School and Dreher High School before studying psychology at Clemson.

Barron won’t be the only Columbia-area educator to appear on “Jeopardy” in 2017. In January, Westwood High School Principal Cheryl Guy also appeared on two episodes, winning $20,600.

Guy is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has been in education for 31 years, according to her website.

The show was taped earlier but contestants are pledged not to divulge how they did in advance of the broadcast.

NOAH FEIT contributed to this report