Teen Who Watched Jeopardy From Age 3 Wins

josiah washington

A 13-year-old teen from Columbia, South Carolina has won Jeopardy! Kids Week. Josiah Washington was awarded with $22,200 for his winnings.

Josiah’s road to the win began long before he ever dreamed of being on the popular quiz show, his mother Renee Washington said.

Josiah’s parents weren’t trying to get their son on TV when they started reading to him shortly after he was born. They just wanted to be sure he’d be curious, well-educated and a lifelong, voracious reader like they are, she said, adding that they’re following the same philosophy with their daughter Micah.

Dad Phillip Washington, an engineer, teaches Josiah math, while mom Renee is the lead teacher, handling everything else.

“I had seen kids in the fourth and fifth grade who were struggling because they didn’t get it from the beginning, and we wanted our children not to have that problem,” said Renee.

Josiah’s vast knowledge “comes from a lot of reading,” said Renee. “Reading, reading, reading … . I encourage parents to start reading to their children when they’re babies, I don’t care what it is – directions on something you read out loud, the newspaper, the Bible, whatever you’re reading.” And it’s no coincidence that Josiah serves as a volunteer at the local library.

Josiah started watching Jeopardy! when he was 3-years-old and “when I was 4 I decided I wanted to be on the show,” he said.

His mother said, “When he was 5 and watching the show, my husband noticed he was answering some of the questions. This was the adult Jeopardy!. In first and second grade, he was answering more questions. Then we saw an episode of Kids Week, so he decided to try for it, took the online test and did well.”

Josiah said there were 30 questions on the test, and he took it twice. However, one of the topics took some work, like pop culture.

“A lot of the pup culture questions they had, I’m not too strong with, like they ask ‘who won American idol’s fourth season.’ And I don’t watch American Idol so I don’t know that,” he said. But as they say, “for success if at first you fail, try again,” is what Josiah followed.

“The second time was more solid questions, like math, history, geography, and science.” Upon completion of the test for the second time, Josiah qualified to compete in the show.

While he’s now 13, Josiah said Kids Week is limited to 10-to-12-year-olds, and he was 12 during the taping.

Josiah’s mom said he reads a lot of trivia books and “he watches a lot of news.”

So, what’s Josiah going to do with all that money?

“Well, I’m going to give 10 percent to the church and the rest is going to go to college,” said Josiah.

“I want to go to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and major in mechanical engineering and go to Harvard Business School and get my MBA (master’s degree in business administration),” he said. His long range goal “is to be CEO of my own roller coaster company.”

As an honor for his achievement, the mayor of Columbia presented him with the “key to the city,” making him the youngest to receive a key to the city.