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Rye Country Day School Graduate Appears On 'Jeopardy!'

Rye native Julia Lawrence with Alex Trebek, host of "Jeopardy!" The 2002 graduate of Rye Country Day School will appear on Friday night's edition at 7 p.m. on WABC-TV. She said she was surprised to discover Trebek "was a real human being."
Rye native Julia Lawrence with Alex Trebek, host of "Jeopardy!" The 2002 graduate of Rye Country Day School will appear on Friday night's edition at 7 p.m. on WABC-TV. She said she was surprised to discover Trebek "was a real human being." Photo Credit: Courtesy/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

RYE, N.Y. -- For Julia Lawrence, a 2002 graduate of Rye Country Day School, appearing on "Jeopardy!" on Friday night is a lifelong dream.

"It was the only item on my bucket list,'' Lawrence told Daily Voice on Thursday.

"Jeopardy!" is celebrating its 31st year, and Lawrence turns 31 on Sunday, so it's fitting that her appearance on the game show, taped in April in Los Angeles will air at 7 p.m. Friday on WABC-TV.

Five shows are taped in one day, and Lawrence's show was taped last, so she got to watch competitors as they advanced toward her Friday show.

"Just to be in the company of these bright, funny people and know any one of them could face me was ... extremely terrifying," she said.

Lawrence first applied to be a contestant on "Jeopardy!" in 2006. About eight percent of all applicants make it to an audition round. Lawrence auditioned in May 2013 in New York City and waited nearly two years for the formal TV invite.

The daughter of Laura Leach and Richard Lawrence of Rye currently lives in Wynnewood, Pa.

In March, she started a new job teaching high school English -- covering for someone on maternity leave -- at Jack Barrach Hebrew Academy. Lawrence said her former ninth- and 10th-grade students "are psyched" about her appearance. "Going in, the buzz had already begun,'' she said of the instantaneous celebrity status.

Lawrence credits the teachers she had growing up with preparing her for a teaching career and opportunities like Friday's television appearance.

"The kind of education Rye Country Day gave me -- art history, music, literature -- it was the teachers at Rye Country Day who got me where I am now: teaching. My passion was just to sort of know everything."

She majored in anthropology and creative writing at Johns Hopkins, but drew a blank when asked what "Jeopardy!" categories she fared the strongest in.

"Funny, you can only remember the ones you got wrong,'' she said. "It's all kind of a blur."

While Lawrence can't reveal the outcome of Friday's rounds, she ended the interview on a positive note.

"It's my birthday on Sunday,'' Lawrence said. "This will be the most significant 31st birthday anyone's had."

You can watch a video showing Lawrence's "hometown howdy" online here.

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