Holly Boivin of New Hampshire Wins “Jeopardy!”

The 13-year-old tells us what it's like to win “Jeopardy!”, see yourself on TV and more

From spelling bees to TV game shows, 13-year-old Holly Boivin is certainly someone her hometown of Nashua can be proud of after her appearance on Jeopardy’s “Kids Week” episode, which aired on Aug. 2. But Boivin did more than just play the game when the episode was taped in February — she won!

Now $20,700 richer, Boivin has more than just an eye-catching resume, she has the memory and the bragging rights of a lifetime. We caught up with the talk-of-the-town teen to see how it feels to be among the ranks of the some of the brightest game show contestants ever.

What’s your life like now since the episode aired?
Since my episode aired, things have been a little crazy! I was interviewed by two newspapers and received a Key to the City of Nashua from Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. For a week or two right after the show, we were constantly getting e-mails and phone calls from friends and family. I was even approached by a couple of strangers who told me they saw me on “Jeopardy!”

Was it difficult to keep from telling anyone that you won for nearly six months until the show aired?
Keeping the results a secret was hard at first while everyone was asking me. After a while though it became old news and people mostly forgot about it. That made it easier although there were still people trying to trick me into telling them!

Which categories did you find to be the most difficult? Which were the easiest?
The most difficult categories for me were the pop culture-related ones. I don’t know that much about those subjects so I was nervous when I got one or two of those. I was very pleased when I saw the category called “Who Wrote That Book?” because I love to read. The “8-Letter Words” category was also a good one for me. I was hoping to get a spelling category because I won my school spelling bee the past two years in a row and in the 2013 State Bee I was 11th in New Hampshire.

You had some trouble with the buzzer at first. Were you worried that the setback would hurt your chances of winning?
I was very frustrated when I couldn’t get in on the buzzer. It turned out that I was ringing in too early and locking myself out. When someone from the show told me on the commercial break what was happening, I was relieved that it was a problem I could fix.

What was it like in the moments after you wrote down your Final Jeopardy answer and waited to hear if it was correct?
I knew from my opponents’ responses that my answer was correct, and I thought that I had wagered enough money to win, but I was really too nervous to do the math and be sure. I was just as surprised as everyone in the audience when my total of $20,700 was enough to put me in first place.

Winning Jeopardy has to be worthy of an automatic A+ from your teachers next year. What do you think? 
I wish! I’m sure that it will look great on any future high school and college applications though.

What was it like watching yourself on TV?
Watching myself on TV was really weird! It had been so long since the taping that I almost didn’t believe it had actually happened. Even though I knew the clues to which I had responded incorrectly, I kept hoping I would get them right anyway. I was almost as surprised at the end as I was in February when it actually happened!

Categories: Q&A