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New Trier sophomores win $55,000 on Wheel of Fortune

Sophomores and best friends Ben Sklansky and Zack Larson won $55,000 and a trip to Hawaii

Jessa Snower

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Sophomores Ben Sklansky and Zack Larson won a $55,000 prize on a recent episode of the Wheel of Fortune.

On Feb. 28, the episode of “Wheel of Fortune” had a “teen best friends week.”

Zach and Ben were part of this week which included teens who are friends competing for prizes of cash, vacations and shopping sprees.

Sklansky completed a survey that was an application for the show, and then was asked to come back for an audition.

He was watching the show when he decided he might as well apply to be featured. Later, he was told to bring a friend, so he chose Larson.

Sklansky said, “I was shocked that they called me to audition, and when they called us to come out and actually film the show, I couldn’t believe it.”

Before going on the show they prepared by playing the iPad version of the game.

Many kids might underestimate how much work goes into the production of game shows.

Larson said, “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and during the show that nobody notices. Like the lights, how many cameras there were, and having an audience was a bit nerve racking in the beginning of the show.”

He also noted that he felt more comfortable as the show continued.

Sklansky said, “Being on the show was incredible, I didn’t expect there to be so many things going on behind the scenes like makeup and all that.”

Regarding the prize money Larson said, “I’m planning to save most of my earnings, and put some into college. A little luxury as well but most of it will be put into my future.”

Sklansky bought a Dodge Challenger with some of the money and plans to put the rest of it towards college.

The prize was $55,000, and a trip to Hawaii.

The application they had to submit consisted of personal questions including age, name, phone number, and other standard questions.

Another part of the application is a video portion. The contestant will upload a video online of why they think they would be a good contestant.

Although the selection process is said to be random, the video is what could set a contestant apart from others.

Over a million people last year sent in an application for a chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune, and fewer than 600 people were selected to be contestants on the show.

Wheel of Fortune is a puzzle game where the contestants first spin the wheel to see the value of money they will get for guessing the correct letter to the puzzle. They can choose consonants, or can buy vowels for $250.

The letters are placed on the board, and then, similar to hangman, contestants guess the complete phrase.

Sklansky and Larson won most of their money in the final round. Their winning phrase was “during the break,” which earned them $34,000.

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New Trier sophomores win $55,000 on Wheel of Fortune