ALPHARETTA, Ga. — For years, the Embar family have had a weekly afternoon tradition at their Windward home — watch “Jeopardy!”
On Friday, Aug. 3, they watched one of their own win first place and bring home $21,401.
During Kids Week, 12-year-old Neha Embar, who will enter the eighth grade at Webb Bridge Middle School, was the star.
The family taped the episode in Culver City, Calif. in March and had to keep the results of the contest hush-hush from family and friends. Embar applied last year, after she saw an ad during the show. She took an online test, was called in for auditions in September and made it.
Embar was one of 15 of the nation’s brightest 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds who competed during Kids Week. Embar was chosen from about 9,000 applicants vying for a spot in the competition.
“They gave us a day to sightsee. The other day we filmed, and it was a really fun experience,” Embar said. “[Host] Alex Trebek was really nice. I talked with him about my Academic Bowl team.”
The Academic Bowl and lots of reading — Embar’s favorite pastime — helped her sharpen her skills for the nationally syndicated game show.
“You can’t prepare for it,” Embar said. “I read a lot, and watched websites with previous games.”
Once on the show, Embar said the hardest part was not buzzing too quickly.
“You always have to be very quick on the buzzer,” Embar said, “But if you buzz before he finishes reading the question, you have a half-a-second delay before you can buzz again and that makes all the difference.”
In addition, Embar is an avid dancer — ballet and jazz.
Seema Embar, her mother, said everyone has been really proud and supportive of Neha.
“She has always been really good and a straight-A student,” her mother said. “It’s one thing to watch it in your living room. The whole entire experience was great. They treated us very well. She got to make new friends.”