Courtney Breaden, 22, a graduate of The King’s Academy in Woodstock, will represent Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., where she is a senior education major.
Breaden, who loves reading, writing and spelling, especially in word games such as Scrabble, grew up watching “Wheel of Fortune” with her mother.
“We always talked about how cool it would be to be on the show,” Breaden said.
So, Breaden applied online and more than a year later was asked to submit a video interview. Then she was given a big chance to audition in Atlanta.
Breaden said a good “Wheel of Fortune” player has to have personality, as well as enthusiasm and confidence in guessing the letters.
“I tried to smile the entire time during the audition,” Breaden said.
Breaden said she thought the audition might be for “College Week,” but it was not official until she got a letter a couple of weeks later.
The episode was filmed Feb 14., and Breaden said, “The set was a lot smaller than I expected it to be.”
She also was surprised by the heftiness of the iconic wheel.
“Oh my gosh, it is so heavy,” Breaden said. “I am not kidding you when I say my arm was sore the entire next day.”
Although she cannot reveal the outcome of the game, Breaden said she might regret some missed letters, but she is happy for the great experience.
Breaden said sitting on a couch, it is easy to guess the clues, but on stage with the cameras on you, the pressure makes it more difficult.
“It went by fast and seems like a big blur now,” Breaden said. “It has been something I always I wanted to do.”
For the filming, Breaden flew to Los Angeles with her fiance, Jordan Ramos, who is also a student at Lee, as well as her brother and a friend.
Breaden and Ramos plan to wed in August. Any money won from the show will be put towards a down payment on their first house.
Breaden will graduate from Lee in May with hopes to teach high school English and eventually become a guidance counselor. She is now student-teaching at Ooltewah High School off of Interstate-75 east of Chattanooga in Ooltewah, Tenn.
“I was a little intimidated when I arrived, because all of the other contestants were from Ivy League and big state schools,” said Breaden. “I was proud to represent Lee among them all.”
Lee University is a private, comprehensive university with a current enrollment of 4,954 students and provides a liberal arts education in a Christ-centered environment.