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Charles Village girl to be contestant on 'Jeopardy! Kids Week'

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At two weeks, Amanda Berry flipped over by herself.

At six months, her father, William Berry came out of the bathroom and she said, "Hi, Daddy."

At seven, a front-page Messenger photo showed the Charles Village girl painting in a local art camp.

Now 11, Amanda is a contestant on the "Kids Week' edition of the long-running answer-and-question quiz show "Jeopardy!"

"Amanda's been very precocious," her father said.

She was one of 15 students, ages 10 to 12, who were selected from 9,000 applicants nationwide to appear on Kids Week, Jeopardy's annual salute to students and academic excellence.

The winner of each game is guaranteed at least $15,000 and the second-and-third place finishers are guaranteed $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, according to a press release from the show.

Jeopardy! Kids Week is scheduled to air Monday, July 30 through Friday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. on WMAR-TV.

Amanda and her mother, Joan Diers, planned to fly to Culver City, Calif., last weekend, for a Monday taping of the show she is on. Dad was staying home, to take care of the cat, Amanda said before she left.

Amanda's Daily Double adventure started when her mother, who is a teacher's aide at Medfield Heights Elementary School, signed her up in October for an online test for potential contestants for Kids Week.

That led to a callback for an audition and personality quiz.

"I got a video game and a Frisbee and a pen shaped like the (answer) buzzer," said Amanda, who goes to Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School.

Then she got the big prize. She learned Feb. 10 that she was chosen as a Jeopardy! contestant and won a free trip with one adult to Sony Pictures Studios.

"I actually got the principal to announce it," she said.

Amanda, an aspiring veterinarian, has been watching Jeopardy! Kids Week since she was five and expects a variety of categories like geography, religion and pop culture, and maybe a fanciful category like last year's "Dr. Zeuss."

To her, it all looks "pretty easy," and she has a fan club of family and friends, plus her classmates.

"They all think I'm gonna win," she said.

She thought about studying, but her parents said it was better "to give myself a little bit of a fresher mind - a bigger thought bank."

"I just want her to have a good time and treasure the experience," William Berry said. "If she wins, great."

Amanda is sorry that she and her family are sworn to secrecy contractually about who won, until the show airs.

"They want to keep up their ratings," she said.

And she will keep her end of the bargain.

"I'm pretty good at keeping secrets," she said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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