Wheel... of... Fortune!
A former Colusa resident spun the wheel and solved puzzles all the way to the bonus round during Teacher’s Week on the television contest show, Wheel of Fortune.
Jake Cousineau is now an American literature and U.S. history teacher and director of International Student Programs at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks.
He said being selected for the contest and winning was amazing, but the bonus round wasn’t as exhilarating as previous rounds.
“I only beat my opponent by $500, which is an incredibly small margin of victory for WOF,” Cousineau wrote in an email. “I even hit the $5,000 wedge on the last possible spin of my round; so, the excitement really took place before the final puzzle.”
He said he thinks he did so well because of luck.
“I think I did well because I got lucky,” Cousineau said. “I would like to say I methodically executed a deliberate plan, but, honestly, I just hit the $5,000 wedge at the right time. My competitor, Anne, outplayed me.”
During the bonus round, he was able to solve the puzzle quickly. The final phrase was “Blowing a huge bubble” under the category “Fun and Games.”
“For the bonus round, I was pretty confident I knew the puzzle once all of the B’s had gone onto the board,” Cousineau said.
He said he plans to invest/save the $50,300 he won.
Cousineau said he wanted to go on because he had “watched the show growing up with his grandparents and eventually became decent at the game.”
He said he hadn’t watched the show regularly before auditioning.
“I did, however, watch a ton of episodes online once I knew I was going to be on the show,” Cousineau said.
To secure a spot on the show, Cousineau said he went through an audition process where he sent in a video, auditioned in person with about 75 other people and later received a letter saying he had been selected. Taping, he said, took a long time.
The contestants had to be at the studio before 7 a.m. Six episodes are filmed per day and he was on the fifth, meaning his episode didn’t film until 4:30 p.m., he said.
Cousineau was born and raised in Colusa. He moved in 2005 and went to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks for his undergraduate degree, he said. After graduating, he taught English and went to graduate school abroad – one year in South Korea and four years in Taiwan – where he earned his master’s.
The episode of Wheel of Fortune Cousineau was featured on aired Sept. 14 for Teacher’s Week.