While Claire Sattler had been the victim of a vicious online bullying campaign, she got the ultimate revenge on the people tormenting her after she won the”Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament.
She couldn’t tell anyone that she’d won the grand prize of $100,000 due to her episode being filmed in August. She and four others were sworn to secrecy and even signed a contract as such until finally, Claire was able to share her good news with the world; and with her haters…
The Jeopardy! Teen Tournament is held once a year on the TV quiz show, Jeopardy! The contestants in the teen version are younger – mainly being high school students – but the rules of the game are still the same. The teen version of the show has been running since 1987 and has put huge smiles on the faces of many a teen winner and their families.
During the filming of the show, when it went live, Claire started to receive some seriously hateful comments from online trolls, mainly on Twitter, who took a dislike to her and some of her personality traits. She was in the final stages of the competition, but her haters’ comments were just getting worse and worse.
Claire is your average 17-year-old girl. She is a senior at the Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, Florida and has quite the bubbly personality and is also quite the looker. The combination of these factors seemed to upset some people, and Claire bore the brunt of some horrible online comments.
“I was more nervous about the internet’s reaction,” Claire said, according to an MSN report. “Twitter decided it didn’t like me very much.” Claire had no idea why so many people had taken exception to her though and was left scratching her head as to what she had done wrong to deserve such a response.
As Claire explained, “Twitter very much decided I was the villain of the finals for some reason other than the fact that I talk a lot,” she said. “But people moved on to their next fixation. I don’t really think about it now.” Her father, Steve Sattler, also told reporters that the online bullying had affected his daughter but that she had learned to deal with it.
“She got fooled by some people,” Steve said. “It really bothered her. I said, ‘You don’t need affirmation from a person who has nothing else do to do than watch teen kids on a game show and make fun of them.’ It’s a good lesson – if you do something in the world, you’ve got to be ready for it,” he added.
Instead of reading endless encyclopedias and dictionaries in advance of the show, Claire decided that her strategy would be to only answer questions when she was 100 percent sure that she knew the answer. This strategy was a clever one and one that seemed to work well for Claire, even if the haters were still hating.
As Claire explained: “You’re trying to figure out if it’s worth buzzing in for an answer you think is 80 percent right,” she said. “There were a few questions that I was 99.9 percent sure was the answer, but I didn’t buzz in.” Her strategy worked, and Claire was able to get a strong lead over her opponents in the final rounds.
Claire kept her cool throughout the competition and ended up with $38,200 in the final rounds; twice as much as her closest opponent. Claire’s nervous parents watched the filming of every show she was in from the audience, tensely awaiting their daughter’s turn on stage.
“That first day was the most stressful,” Steve said. “We’d never seen her perform. We didn’t know what to expect.” Claire passed that first day quite easily and was all set to go to film the semifinals and finals. “The second day was much easier,” Steve said. “She had met her goal.” Claire also spoke about what she intended to do with her winnings.
Having won $100,000 in the end, Claire would see around $65,000 of that after state and federal taxes. She explained that she would be using every penny she won from the show for her college fund. “I’d love to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but I’m also looking at Columbia College, Georgia Institute of Technology and staying here in (Florida),” Claire said.
For her part, Claire needed to keep quiet about her winnings due to filming schedules and the games’ rules. “I can finally talk about it!” she said when she was allowed to reveal that she was a winner. “Honestly, I’m just exhausted. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders,” she said.
Perhaps it was Claire’s success that she got so much online abuse but either way no one was surprised when she won. Having dominated the two-day final, she racked up a respectable $21,800 on Monday and a further $16,400 on Tuesday, and that even before getting to Tuesday’s Final Jeopardy round.
While Claire was stunned that she had made it to Final Jeopardy, she was also extremely nervous. “I said, ‘I have a runaway!'” she recalled. “And then I said, ‘No way!’ My hands were shaking as I was trying to do the math and make sure I wasn’t wrong,” she added.
Steve said he feels nothing but pride for his daughter and what she has achieved – both regarding Jeopardy and in her life. “You’re kind of speechless,” he said. “It’s been amazing. I’m just really proud of her and happy for her. There’s really not much more than that. We’re proud parents.”
Meanwhile, Claire’s mom Stacie said it was a great night for her daughter and some other contestants. “Those girls are amazing,” Stacie said. “They’re all amazing individuals and very intelligent. There really is no loser. It’s all about girl power.” Now all that remained was for the Jeopardy check to arrive in the mail.
While Claire would have preferred not to have been taxed on her winnings so heavily she didn’t really have a choice in the matter. “I’m pretty sure most of that money is going to college,” she said. “Because college is expensive.” However, she also plans to donate some of her winnings to charity.
Stem4Students is one worthwhile cause that Claire said she would be donating to. The organization developed a curriculum to provide a summer camp for underprivileged 2nd-grade students from the Guadalupe Center in Immokalee, FL. Meantime, Claire has applied to at least 14 different colleges and hopes to get accepted.
For her part, Claire said she feels blessed to have won Teen Jeopardy. She spoke about her competition, admitting that there were some other really strong contestants alongside her.”It’s wild,” she said. “Everybody on there was so strong. It really could have been any one of us. It really could have.”
Instead of letting the petty online Twitter bullying upset her or put her off her game, Claire made the right decision to ignore her haters and pay them no attention. It was a vital life lesson for Claire who ended up being the one laughing due to her success on the show.