Bob "Alex" Keely<
July 12, 2005
They could tell it was NOT business as usual when Putnam Rotarians showed up for their weekly luncheon meeting at Sleepy Hollow today. Sergeant-at-Arms Bob Keely was ready to put them to the test. They were all in "JEOPARDY!" -- Rotary style.
Taking a cue from the popular syndicated television game show of the same name, Keely took on the role of TV JEOPARDY's host Alex Trebek in a special-edition "Rotarized" version.
He set up a JEOPARDY! game board with clue categories "Our Club," "Our Projects," "Our District," "General," and "Rotary International."
The clues ranged in value from $100 to $1,000, and the questions became harder as their value increased.
Clues were offered to tables in rotation. Each table had a spokesperson to pick the category and value, and to give the question from a consensus at that table.
"Sorry! You won't be back for Final JEOPARDY!"
"Our first president" was an early clue, and it brought a quick question response: "Who was George Washington?" Sorry! Wrong answer!
Keely reminded the contestant table that the category was "Our Club," not "Our Country." The correct response: "Who was David Bruce?" Bruce was club president in 1995-96, the club's first year.
There was a mixed chorus of good-natured groans and laughter as the money was deducted from the winnings for that table.
Other clues included items such as "number of clubs in our district," "community service project," and "GSE."
(The question for that last one: "What is Group Study Exchange?" -- a Rotary International Foundation program.)
"JEOPARDY! is one of the few programs that I will go out of my way to watch," said Bob. "There is always something to learn and the participants seem really to enjoy the competition."
Game simulations had been a teaching tool at the telephone training center where Keely worked.
"People seem to learn best when they can place things into context and have fun," Keely reasoned. "So, the idea of developing a Rotary JEOPARDY! seemed like a good one."
The meeting time today was gone before half of the answers had been revealed, and Keely paid off the winning table -- in "100 Grand" Nestle milk chocolate bars.
But no one was ready to leave -- which may be a first for Rotary meetings where a tight schedule is a tradition.
Chances seem excellent for a club rematch in the near future. But members plan to review and study up on their facts in the meantime to become more "Rotary literate."