Borough students may get shot at ‘The Substitute’


Host Jon Gabrus quizzes high school students on an episode of ‘The Substitute’ last fall. Students from Naugatuck High School will get a chance to compete this year on the MTV game show. - CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — When mixing paints in art class, the three primary colors are yellow, blue and what?

What is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter’s name?

MTV is offering Naugatuck High School students the chance to answer questions such as these on “The Substitute,” a nationally televised trivia game show.

Representatives from the network will meet Friday after dismissal with at least 60 upperclassmen at the high school, history teacher Matt LaPlaca said. The students received invitations Wednesday in their homeroom classes.

“To have the students be able to compete on a national television show in this way, I think it stimulates school pride,” LaPlaca said. “I think it gives the entire community a boost of morale. MTV’s famous, and it gives the kids an opportunity that not everyone would get.”

MTV will tell the students at the meeting what they need to do to qualify, LaPlaca said. Teachers and administrators are not sure whether borough students will definitely compete on the show, but network representatives have hinted that it is probable, LaPlaca said.

Brandi Albahary, a press representative for the show, could not provide more information as of press time.

In an e-mail to the school two weeks ago, the network expressed interest in recruiting borough students to compete, LaPlaca said. Science teacher Christine Gamari is coordinating the effort with the show’s producers, Embassy Row Productions of New York.

Teachers and club advisers were asked to recommend high-achieving, well-rounded and mature juniors and seniors to meet with MTV.

“It was amazing how many of the same names came from multiple sources,” LaPlaca said.

Any chosen students will go to New York for the taping, LaPlaca said.

“The Substitute” premiered last fall as an ambush game show, in which host Jon Gabrus would walk into a high school class as its “substitute teacher,” show the unsuspecting students a briefcase with $5,000 in cash and ask the students pop culture and educational questions for a shot at money to help pay for college.

Teachers were told the format has changed this year, but not exactly how, LaPlaca said.

Classes at Derby High School were ambushed last spring to appear on the show months later.