On the Spot: CHS alumna fulfills dream of being in “Wheel of Fortune”


Carol Kaelson/Photographer

Coppell High School alumna Parker Stansel appeared on an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” which aired on Friday night. To be able to compete, Mrs. Stansel went through two rounds of auditions before being selected for the show. Photo courtesy Carol Kaelson

Lili Lomas, Executive Digital Content Editor, Sports Editor

As she whirled through various word problems and puzzles, Parker Stansel had one thought running through her mind: her next move.


The Coppell High School alumna and wife of CHS Psychology and Economics teacher Jared Stansel recently competed on an episode of the television game show “Wheel of Fortune” which aired last Friday on CBS 11.


“I just knew that this was a dream come true to me,” said Mrs. Stansel, a 2005 CHS graduate. “I was living it. It was just an exciting experience. I was happy, I was nervous, I was having fun, it was just everything all in one. A great experience.”


She has enjoyed watching “Wheel of Fortune” since she was a little girl, when she watched it with her grandmother. Last summer, after seeing on a commercial that the program was coming to Dallas and holding auditions, she saw the chance to be part of it.


For the first round of auditions, she went to Texas Motor Speedway one weekend among thousands of people who shared the same goal. They each wrote their name on slips of paper which were then randomly drawn for the selection of contestants for the first round. Mrs. Stansel’s name was called.  


Two weeks later, she received a letter in the mail informing her she had been selected for the second round of auditions, which focuses on the contestant’s ability to solve puzzles. A longtime lover of word problems and games such as Scrabble and Bananagrams, Mrs. Stansel passed.


Three weeks later, she received a congratulatory letter in the mail saying that she had been selected to appear on the show. The Stansels flew to Sony’s production studios in Culver City, Calif. on the Thursday before school started.


She came home with $20,000.  


In order to succeed on the show, Mrs. Stansel practiced from several “Wheel of Fortune” study books, word problems and crossword puzzles. Along the way, her husband offered emotional support and aided with providing her study materials.


“I kind of was just there for moral support because she is very anxious and nervous and I’m like, ‘you’re not going to suck, you’re going to do great,’” Mr. Stansel said.


However, support came from more than just her husband. Several of the Stansels’ friends and family members, including CHS teachers, gathered for a watch party on Friday night.


“She was just nailing it,” CHS English teacher Richard Orlopp said. “I was just really impressed. I feel like I would have been too nervous. I think everyone was just really excited for them.”