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'It was almost a surreal experience' | Vacaville high school teacher competes on Jeopardy!

Tuesday's episode of America's Favorite Quiz Show will feature a familiar face to some students at Vacaville High School.

DIXON, Calif — Editor's Note: The above video is from January 2021. 

A Vacaville teacher and Dixon resident is set to appear on Jeopardy! Tuesday night.

"It was exciting and nerve-wracking all at once," Jeff Mitchum, an English teacher at Vacaville High School and a contestant on this upcoming Jeopardy! show, said. 

Though the show was taped in advance, May 11 marks Mitchum's television appearance, where he will be answering some tough questions, tougher even than the questions his students ask him during class. 

"You know, being a teacher, being a good teacher, definitely requires a little bit of thinking on your feet," Mitchum said. "And I definitely had to do a lot of that while I was playing for sure."

Mitchum has lived in Dixon for about five years and he's in his sixth year at Vacaville High. 

"It was almost a surreal experience just to see behind-the-scenes and to see everything that goes into a TV production that doesn't come across as you watch it," Mitchum said. 

ABC10 will air Jeopardy! at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Guest host Bill Whitaker is set to bring the clues to the night's questions, and Mitchum said his experience on the show gave him a great appreciation for Whitaker's hosting duties. 

"I think the most interesting part was, you know, doing it with a guest host, with Bill Whitaker," Mitchum said. "There was a lot of talk from the crew and producers beforehand reminding us, you know, Alex Trebek had this down to a science because he did it for 36 years."

Trebek died on Nov. 8, 2020, after battling pancreatic cancer, and since his passing, Jeopardy! has featured a number of guest hosts on the show. At the time that Mitchum walked on stage, Whitaker had been guest hosting for about a day. 

"It gave me a new appreciation for how difficult a job I think it is to host and to, you know, read the questions and judge the answers, and everything else," Mitchum said. 

Mitchum could not go into much detail about what his competition looked liked, but viewers can catch the Vacaville high school teacher's Jeopardy! game Tuesday at 7 p.m. on ABC10. 

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