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SKHS grad found out if he’s ‘Smarter Than a 5th Grader’

Tom Sharp, a 2002 South Kitsap High School graduate, will appear as a contestant on “Are you Smarter Than a Fifth-grader” Wednesday. He is pictured here on an airplane next to actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. - Courtesy photo
Tom Sharp, a 2002 South Kitsap High School graduate, will appear as a contestant on “Are you Smarter Than a Fifth-grader” Wednesday. He is pictured here on an airplane next to actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

A 2002 South Kitsap High School graduate put his education to the test Wednesday when he appeared on Fox’s “Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

Tom Sharp, 25, who now lives in Los Angeles, said he saw an ad for the show on Craigslist, and tried out on a whim.

“I never thought I had a chance at all,” Sharp said, recalling that he did “add a lot of personality and a little pizazz in my submission.”

He was called back in May for an on-camera audition, and while visiting his family in Port Orchard — mom Robin Worland and grandmother Sandy Giard live here — for the Fourth of July, Sharp said he learned he learned he would be on the show.

Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” pairs adult contestants with fifth-graders, who answer questions on various subjects. To win the potential $250,000 prize, the contestants must determine if each fifth-grader’s answer is correct.

To prepare for the show, Sharp said he bought the show’s board game, memorized the names of U.S. presidents in order, and studied the Periodic Table of the Elements.

“My friends also asked me random trivia questions,” Sharp said, explaining that when he taped the show in August, the questions were “about where I thought they’d be.”

Overall, he said it was a “cool, kind of surreal, experience,” that included getting dressing room with his name on it, and several friends cheering him in the audience.

“It’s kind of cool having 500-plus people in audience,” he said, describing the fifth-graders as “really adorable” and Foxworthy as “a really down-to-earth, cool guy.”

Since taping the show, Sharp has been sworn to secrecy, and could not reveal if, or how much, he won.

His episode aired Wednesday, and Sharp said while he at one point collected a large amount of prize money, he ended up walking away with only a “$2,500 consolation prize.

“I risked everything on the bonus question, and answered incorrectly,” he said, adding that he has no regrets. “All in all, I was happy and had a great time.”

He said he doesn’t want to be an actor — he works as a Residence Director in Los Angeles — and described trying out for shows as a hobby.

After graduating from SKHS, he went on to Olympic College, Western Washington University, and attended graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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