Nonprofit Director Competes on ‘Jeopardy!’
Erin Rion has been an avid reader since she was a young adult. That, along with her extensive knowledge of pop culture, theater, literature and general trivia, helped the director of clinical services at New Hope Community — a New York-based human services organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities — with her recent appearance on “Jeopardy!”
“The hardest part was the buzzer,” Rion said. “You only have a split second to ring in, and if you ring in too early, you get locked out. It's much harder than it looks on TV.”
Rion tried out for the popular game show last year. Her episode aired June 15, with journalist Savannah Guthrie as guest host.
“My ‘Jeopardy!’ experience was wonderful, and Savannah was so kind and so professional. She made all of the contestants feel really comfortable.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the resident of Napanoch, New York, couldn’t bring anyone to the taping, had to do her own hair and makeup and bring her own snacks.
On the show, she won a daily double and entered final Jeopardy! in second place. She correctly answered the Final Jeopardy! question — “During her second marriage, she split her time among homes in New York, New Jersey, Paris, Greece and a yacht.” — by answering “Who is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis?” However, she chose to wager zero dollars and was awarded $2,000 as the second-place finisher.
“We are so proud of Erin for following her dreams and doing so well on the show,” Debra McGinness, New Hope Community CEO, said. “She is certainly a winner here at New Hope Community, and it was a thrill for all of us to cheer her on.”