Alex, I’ll take perks of a Catholic education for $500

Aaron Lambert

Answer: School where Jeopardy contestant Stephanie Sumulong teaches middle school social studies. Question: What is St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Loveland?

Correct!

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, Sumulong appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy, the beloved quiz show hosted by Alex Trebek. Though she only played for two nights, she won her first night with total earnings of $12,399.

Sumulong has been watching Jeopardy since she was very young and was excited to get the chance to be a contestant.

“I love quiz shows and games. I’ve been watching Jeopardy since I was about eight years old,” she told the Denver Catholic. “I always competed with my dad until I went to college and then found some Jeopardy fans to watch with. Currently my husband and I watch the show every night; we DVR it so we never miss it!”
In preparation to compete on the show, Sumulong practiced two weeks before her taping on the phrasing of questions.

“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t blurting out the answers like I do at home,” she said.

Additionally, she read children’s books on subjects she doesn’t feel comfortable with, such as poetry, physics and Shakespeare.

“They have basic facts that you can tuck away for some answers,” she said.

When it came time to compete on the show, she wasn’t nervous at all.

“I was extremely excited and ready to play,” Sumulong said. “I’ve been wanting to be on the show for 20 years and had even tried out once before in 2008. I felt confident in what I knew and that I had a chance to win.”

Besides teaching at St. John the Evangelist, Sumulong also grew up going to Catholic schools.

“I’m the proud product of a (mostly) Catholic school education,” Sumulong said. “I have had some excellent teachers, including nuns and brothers, along the way and they deserve much credit.”

And sure enough, all of Sumulong’s practicing and preparation paid off that first night on the show.

“I was a little upset that I couldn’t come up with the correct final answer, but when I saw the scores and realized I had won, I was pumped!” Sumulong said. “I felt like my persistence and love of learning paid off.”

Now, Sumulong is known as a celebrity to the 2nd graders at St. John the Evangelist. But more importantly, she hopes that her experience on Jeopardy encourages others to chase their dreams.

“Even if it might seem silly to others, it’s you dream and it’s worth the hard work!” she said.

COMING UP: “God, Sex and the Meaning of Life”: Come explore the beauty and power of the Theology of the Body

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The Archdiocese of Denver extends an invitation to explore the beauty and power of the Theology of the Body while bringing healing and sight to the blindness of our modern culture’s beliefs in sexuality at the Theology of the Body Conference, which will take place Saturday, March 14, at Light of the World Parish in Littleton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early registration ends Jan. 31 and includes lunch and workshop materials for $40.

“God, Sex and the Meaning of life” is a full introduction to Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that will engage the audience with a complete understanding of God’s plan for humanity. The keynote speaker for this conference, Bill Donaghy, will be sharing his own experiences as husband, father, former high school teacher and child of God.

“If you have a pulse, if you’re human, if you’re alive, you should attend,” Donaghy told the Denver Catholic. “I’m giving an introduction. It’s the wide scope, 30,000-foot view of what the teaching [Theology of the Body] is. It’s literally for every man and woman, every vocation, single, married, celibate, divorced, wherever your state in life is, wherever you are right now, this is a day that zeroes in on human identity.”

Donaghy is the Senior Lecturer and Content Specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute, and a well-known international speaker. He worked for nearly a decade teaching theology while giving talks, retreats, and conferences for the institute. Since 1999, he has worked in the fields of mission and evangelization throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

Donaghy will encourage attendees to see the redemption of sexuality as the key to happiness, uncovering the truth behind the lies of lust and pornography and how they can be overcome.

“It’s about getting grounded again in my own incarnation, my masculinity, my femininity. Our culture right now is sort of cerebral, it’s kind of living in the head or maybe just living in the feelings, the outliers,” he said. “[The] theology of our body says, ‘come home to your body, your body is not an alien, it’s not an enemy that you manipulate or change.’ Theology of the Body helps us come home to our own bodies. It’s a beautiful homecoming.”

The conference will also feature a Spanish track with Evan Lemoine, Founder of “Amar al Máximo.” Lemoine is a recognized international speaker on the Theology of the Body, sexuality, courtship, and marriage. He is a graduate from the Master’s Program on Marriage and Family in the John Paul II Institute in Mexico City, where he was later a post-grad professor. He is also a graduate from the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia, where he has specialized on the vision and teachings of John Paul II. He has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University with a Minor in Psychology, and a Masters in Humanities from the Anahuac University in Mexico City.

This one-day conference is intended for all people college-aged and above. A study guide is included and may be used afterward for follow-up adult faith formation Theology of the Body studies.

“Sexuality is literally the image of God, man and woman,” Donaghy concluded. “He created us. Be not afraid. Come to a day that helps you answer fundamental questions: Who am I? How do I live?”

Theology of the Body Conference

Saturday, March 14, 9 a.m.
Light of the World Parish, Littleton
$40 Early bird thru Jan. 31
More information and registration: archden.org/TOB-CONFERENCE/