Mount Vernon teacher hits the jackpot on Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune kicked off “Teacher’s Week” this week, and on Wednesday evening Mount Vernon High School English teacher Auja Jones made her hometown Majors proud with a big win.

Competing against teachers from schools in Nebraska and Massachusetts, Jones — who told host Pat Sajak about her passions for poetry writing and softball playing and coaching — won her first $1,000 by successfully guessing “STAPLER AND STAPLE REMOVER.” During the “Prize Puzzle,” she bounced back from bankruptcy to solve “GLORIOUS SUNRISES,” raking in an additional $4,000 and a trip to Jamaica worth $8,108.

As her mother, niece and grandparents looked on from the studio audience, the beaming Jones advanced to the bonus round, opting for the “thing” category. Despite only having a handful of letters to work with, she managed to talk out the answer — “BULKY PACKAGE” — wowing Sajak and showering Jones with an additional $36,000 for a grand total of $49,108 in winnings.

Sajak was so impressed by the teacher’s technique that he discussed it with hostess Vanna White at the end of the show.

“That was a textbook way to play the bonus round,” he said. “To listen to what you’re saying … sometimes people just say words, and it’s not registering, but she got the ‘baggage’; she played with that a little bit, and it worked out very nicely.”

Watch the show in its entirety, without commercials, here.