Cheng auditions for Jeopardy in hopes of becoming… Pope


Elle Chen

US English Teacher Vincent Cheng entertains his students with his witty jokes and funny stories.

Will Schavee, RubicOnline

Upper School English teacher Vincent Cheng has been known for his witty responses to any situation that is thrown at him. Ever since he started teaching classes here, his quickness and ability to recall many random facts is what makes so many students so enthralled with his teaching. Not only are these attributes extremely well suited to leading a meaningful and enjoyable discussion but also they are important characteristics of any aspiring Jeopardy winner. 

Cheng decided to apply to be on Jeopardy not too long ago, “Earlier this year, during class, I opened my wallet to grab a quarter for a coin flip. A student sitting next to me, who I’ll call “Sharee Roman”,  saw inside my wallet and said loudly, ‘Mr. Cheng — you have like NO money.’ That night I went home and took the online test to qualify for a Jeopardy audition,” Cheng said. 

Cheng showed his willingness to try something new but he did not stop there. He ended up being invited to another round of auditions that were held in Milwaukee on November 20. 

When he found out that he might actually have a chance at making some money he began preparing, “Jeopardy is just as much a test of emotional strength as well as intellectual strength. To prepare for the show I called my father and asked him why he never told me that he loved me,” Cheng said. He truly has prepared for everything and with this, he was ready to go. 

Jeopardy is just as much a test of emotional strength as well as intellectual strength.

— US English Teacher Vincent Cheng

Cheng looked back on the auditioning process and recalled what excited him the most about this opportunity, “I was frequently made fun of in high school for dumb things like ‘being unathletic’ and ‘being short’ and ‘accidentally referring to Garfield the Cat as ‘dad’.’ I never got a chance to dispel those misconceptions and excel in my own way. The process is exciting to me because it gives me a chance to finally move past that and prove to everyone what I actually am: tall,” Cheng said.

Without knowing for certain if he will make an appearance on the show, Cheng has already shown his excellence – at least to himself.

Cheng looks to the future with excitement saying, “As a creative writing major, I know that my future will never have the same level of financial security as more stable professions, like sweeping the beach with a metal detector or being a dog. Even a few thousand dollars would make a huge difference for me. I’ll spend as much time as possible studying up and, if I’m lucky enough to win, I plan to finally move into an apartment of my own instead of sleeping on the floor of room 6140,” Cheng said. 

I asked my students to help give me suggestions for this question. They said I should, 1. Buy Oreos 2. Buy a fridge for the class and 3. Become Pope.

— Cheng

Cheng wanted to make sure that everyone knew that it’s not just him that’s involved and that really it has been a team effort, “I’d like to thank my students for helping me come up with answers for several of the questions I was asked during the interview portion of the audition. For example, the auditioners asked me what I would do with the money if I won and I said, ‘I asked my students to help give me suggestions for this question. They said I should, 1. Buy Oreos 2. Buy a fridge for the class and 3. Become Pope.’ I think everyone enjoyed that answer. And to Henry, who suggested that I become Pope: I’m sorry I failed you as a teacher,” Cheng said. 

Many of Cheng’s students have expressed their excitement for their teacher possibly being on the show, “I always knew he was smart and he is really good at recalling random trivia so I think he could actually do really well,” junior Gabe Ramirez said.

Cheng has done all of the preparation and has all of the support to succeed on the show but as of right now it is not guaranteed that he will make an appearance, “If I did well enough, I’ll be entered into two contestant pools: the teacher’s edition of the show and the regular edition. Then, I can be called up to compete anytime within the next 18-months,” Cheng said.

Until then there is a short video of the audition process in Milwaukee with Cheng showing up for roughly 2 seconds. Here is the link, Good Luck Mr. Cheng.