• Trio of Bears appear on ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ in a month’s time

    Baylor grad Deanna Senaratne on Wheel of Fortune

    If you’re an avid wheel watcher, you may have noticed that Wheel Of Fortune has taken on a distinct green and gold hue lately, a trend that will continue in April. Two Baylor alums competed earlier this month, and a current student will be a contestant in April. While there, they won some extra spending money, met hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White, and found that the iconic wheel is much heavier than you’d think.

    Baylor grads Deanna Senaratne, BS ’13 (pictured), and Charlene Gibson, BA ’00, MA ’02, didn’t overlap during their times at Baylor, but met while taping and appeared on two separate March episodes. Omari Williams, a senior theater performance major, followed in an episode slated to air April 8.

    Deanna traced her turn on the show to auditions in Houston last December. In a strange twist of fate, she actually received an email inviting her on the show the very day she took her last final as an undergraduate student at Baylor. Wheel Of Fortune flew her and other contestants out to California for a day full of tapings, where she met Gibson.

    “I was talking to other contestants in our taping group,” Deanna remembers. “Someone asked me where I went to college, and I said ‘Baylor.’ All of a sudden, I heard someone say, ‘Who just said Baylor?’ It was Charlene. We hugged and started talking. Just the fact that another Baylor grad was there was awesome.”

    Deanna finished second on her episode that aired March 7, solving two puzzles and taking home $4,350 for her efforts. But the highlight of the program was giving a “Sic ‘em, Bears!” to host Pat Sajak after telling him she was a Baylor student and fan. You can watch the entire episode here or fast forward to Deanna’s “sic ‘em.” Charlene finished third on an episode that aired March 19; her episode is online in two parts (one and two).

    So what are a few secrets of the show? For starters, they tape a number of episodes throughout a long day of taping, and contestants are not allowed to bring cell phones, tell anyone about the results of the show or get their pictures taken with Pat or Vanna. They also take a few practice turns spinning the 2,400-pound wheel. And as for a most memorable moment? They witnessed what Pat Sajak called “the most amazing” guess of his career, a stroke of luck that took the Internet by storm last week.

    Sic ’em, Deanna, Charlene and Omari!

    [We learned of this note from a Bear who shared her Baylor pride. Do you know of an inspiring story, news item, or just a fun link that makes you proud of Baylor and the Baylor family? Let us know! Click here to submit your point of pride!]

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