A Summerville High School graduate won $21,800 on an episode of "Jeopardy!" that aired Monday night.

Andrea Prospero West, an English composition instructor at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, will return as defending champion on Tuesday's program.

The game show's policy prohibited her from discussing how she did.

"It was a fun experience, win or lose," West said in a brief interview Monday afternoon. "The production crew was great. ... It was a great experience."

West got off to slow start but was in second place with $11,800 heading into "Final Jeopardy!" The category was "Word Origins."

The answer: "This noun meaning a secret plan comes from the Latin to breathe together."

All three contestants wrote down the correct question: "What is conspiracy?"

West bet almost all of her money, $10,000. Two-day champ Katie Frank only gambled $5,000 of her $13,000 in winnings and ended up in second place.

West's family moved to the Lowcountry in 1989 from the Buffalo-Rochester area of western New York, said sister Suzanne Lesage. Her parents, Angelo and Theresa Prospero, and Lesage still live in Summerville.

West graduated from Summerville High in 1991 and then from the University of South Carolina Honors College. West also earned a master's degree from USC.

"She's very smart," her sister said.

Lesage added that family members urged West "forever to go and take the test" that "Jeopardy!" uses to screen contestants. The show then invited her to a tryout in Nashville, Tenn.

"I guess she did very well there," Lesage said. "They put her in a pool of another 1,800 people, and they keep your name on the list for 18 months. After just a few months, they called her and told her to come to California."

Monday's show was taped earlier this year, she said.

"Jeopardy!" is shown locally at 7:30 p.m. on WCBD-TV 2.