Local teacher wins $1 million


Imagine receiving a $1 million check and not being able to tell anyone about it.

Sarah Manchester and her family had to keep her $1 million win on the Wheel of Fortune a secret for over three months since the show was filmed in May.

“It was difficult at first because people kept asking how it went,” said Manchester, a Takoma Park Middle School teacher, “Then it was kind of nice that people forgot about it, and everything went back to normal.”

Since her win was revealed during the show’s “Teacher’s Week” September 17, many neighbors and fellow teachers approached her about it.

When Manchester returned to work, one student ran up with a piece of paper and asked for her autograph, prompting many other students to do the same. Manchester joked that in order to get her signature they would need to keep the bathroom passes that she gave them.

Manchester also won a trip to the Dominican Republic by solving the show’s prize puzzle. For the bonus round, when Manchester had the chance to win $1 million she quickly figured out the answer was “Loud Laughter”, and didn’t hesitate to guess the letters ‘D’, ‘G’, ‘H’, and ‘O’.

“I was completely sure,” said Manchester, “If it had not come up in the puzzle, I would’ve been completely surprised.”

However she never predicted that she would be able to successfully win $1,017,490.

When host Pat Sajak revealed the prize and confetti started falling down, Manchester’s father, husband, and two children rushed onto the stage to celebrate.


Sarah Manchester. Photo provided by Ms Manchester.

Manchester has been a long time fan of the show, and watches it with her family.

“I’ve watched a ton of [the show], since I was a kid,” said Manchester.

She doesn’t watch the reruns during the summer months, but has been keeping up to date with the current season.

“It’s frustrating sometimes, ’cause I see people playing really well, and they’ll hit bankrupt a bunch of times,” Manchester said.

“They’re obviously very talented and luck is not with them on that particular episode.”

Luck plays a big part in the game.

“One of the weirdest things is that I’m getting a lot of attention, mostly I had good luck spinning the wheel,” said Manchester.

The Wheel of Fortune added the million-dollar prize in 2008 in Season 26. There have only been two other previous winners of the $1 million prize: Michelle Lowenstein in 2008 and Autumn Erhard in 2013.