Teacher wins big on “Wheel of Fortune”

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Social studies teacher Dan Moroaica is a contestant on
Social studies teacher Dan Moroaica is a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune". The show was taped over the summer, but aired on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Dan Moroaica

Daria Milovanova staff writer

For teacher week, social studies teacher Dan Moroaica spun for big money on the 38th season of “Wheel of Fortune“. The show aired Sept. 16.

Since Moroaica has watched the program for most of his life, the renowned game show has sentimental value for him.

“It actually has been a dream of mine since I was about six-years-old…my grandmother and I would always watch ‘Wheel of Fortune’, and she passed away many years ago, but I always wanted to try to get on the show to kind of honor…our relationship and her memory,” he said. “And so being on the show was not only amazingly fun for me, I felt like I was able to also get a win for grandma, too.”

According to The Penny Hoarder, an average person’s chance of being on “Wheel of Fortune” is 0.0006%. Moroaica himself was surprised about being a contestant on the show, saying “It’s funny” that he got on the show after sending his first application. 

“I’d always talked about it…and so for the first time I submitted an application,” he said. “They must have liked it, because about a month later, they gave me an audition.”

Moroaica was happy to see the many aspects of the behind-the-scenes work of the show. 

“It was nice to see all the little things and how they did it…I was really impressed by the technology of the board they have, behind the cameras, some really, really cool stuff,” he said. 

The biggest honor for Moroaica, though, was meeting Pat Sajak and Vanna White. 

“I’ve been watching them for about 33 years, so it was awesome to meet them,” he said.

Although Moroaica’s performance for the first two rounds of the show was uneventful, his luck took a turn for the better about half-way through the game after correctly guessing a letter and winning $10,000 when he looked under a mystery wedge.

“When I began the game, I didn’t do too well. I was at zero for the beginning of the game. And so my reaction at that point was, ‘Well, whatever. I’m here. If I just get $1000, I’ll be happy from the very beginning,’” he said. “My mentality was, I don’t care what I get. I’m going to be on ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ That’s my prize. And so when…it looked like that was going to happen, I was like, well, you know, whatever it is, it is. But then…my luck changed very quickly. And when things started getting sort of going well for me, that’s when my legs began to do like Jell-O a little bit.”

Even though he lost the bonus round, Moriaica still won the main game, taking home $30,550 in cash and prizes. 

Summarizing his experience on “Wheel of Fortune,”  Moroaica said, “I would say it was about four words: once in a lifetime.”

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