There are moments in everyone’s lives that are game changers, and on Wednesday night, middle school math teacher Sarah Manchester had one of those experiences. Manchester appeared on the long-running game show Wheel of Fortune, solving puzzles left and right before going on to win the show’s most coveted prize: a million dollars. Watch her final puzzle and her subsequent freak out, below.
Manchester is only the third person in the history of Wheel of Fortune to win the million dollar prize. This is partially due to the fact that the million dollars only became a possibility in 2008, but more importantly due to the fact that it is really difficult to win the money. There are a ton of steps on Wheel of Fortune that one must handle correctly in order to secure the million dollars, likely because the hit game show doesn’t want to be giving out prize packages that large on a regular basis.
First, a contestant must collect the green million-dollar wedge during a regular round of the game show. Then, that contestant must be the person who makes it to the bonus round without going Bankrupt and losing the wedge. If he or she makes it that far, Wheel of Fortune then replaces the $100,000 envelope with one housing the million dollar prize. The contestant will spin the smaller Bonus Round wheel and has a shot at grabbing the correct envelope, but still must answer the final puzzle correctly. As you can see, it’s not exactly the easiest feat.
However, Manchester did everything right, easily solving the Bonus Round puzzle. She truly lucked out with the puzzle, though, getting the first letters of both words and enough added information to make it insta-solvable. Then, she just guessed some extra letters to make sure she had the right idea (the answer was “Loud Laughter). It took her less than a second to solve the puzzle. Finally, veteran host Pat Sajak opened the prize envelope and Manchester had won the million dollars. Earlier in the evening, she also won an additional $17,490 and a trip to the Dominican Republic.
This week, the school teacher created a blog entry for Wheel of Fortune talking about her astonishment over the improbable event.
“Then Pat revealed the dollar amount – WOW! Simply astonishing. Though my children had been sitting in the audience with the sparkling green wedge, the million dollar prize still didn’t seem like a real possibility. And yet, it happened. The immediate aftermath is kind of a blur. I remember balloons and confetti, hugs and jumping around. Walking back toward the seats, I smiled as I saw my fellow teacher contestants applauding. A short time later, audience members were congratulating my family as we exited the studio. I remember wondering if all of them could keep this news secret, especially the large group of students on a field trip who sat behind us.”
Luckily, everyone did a good job of keeping things hush-hush until the episode aired this week. Now the newly minted millionaire can go out and spend her winnings!