Niagara Gazette — Plus they get to grade a Jeopardy-worthy quiz, which has featured some interesting answers.
"We try to make this as personable, fun an experience as possible," Kagan said. "For us, it's not just seeing thousands of people, it's about getting to know them as well as we can in such a short amount of time. We want to get to know them."
It's not known whether any of the individuals who tried out Thursday will make the final cut and get the call to the show's Culver City, Calif. studio. But reaching the stage they did grants them all entry into the show's database, where their application, photograph and audition tape can sit for up to 18 months.
For Meg Murphy, a school nurse from Bloomfield, N.Y., and Laura Geryk, a middle school math teacher from Springfield, Mass., simply auditioning at this level was worth everything they went through.
Geryk, especially, almost never made it to Niagara Falls. Not because she nearly failed the test, but because she almost never read her invitation email she got months after taking the online preliminary quiz.
"I got the notice long enough ago I forgot all about it," she said. "Of course, after you take the online test, you get the junk mail, and it was set up to go to that folder. When the email came, I thought it was junk mail and I deleted it. I went, 'Oh, wait, that's not right' and went back and found it."
Murphy, unlike Geryk, had experience with this level of tryout before. But not her own. a few years ago, her daughter auditioned for the teen tournament the game holds each year and made it to the second round herself.
Her daughter never made the show, and to make matters worse, she said, there was very little in terms of guidance about the experience when she asked.
"I thought she'd help me out," Murphy said about her daughter. "But when I asked, she said it was hard. That's it. But when my daughter tried out, they had the process open to the parents, we got to see what was expected."Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.