‘A dream come true’: DeMello teacher wins Hawaiian vacation on Wheel of Fortune

Feb 6, 2024

Growing up, DeMello Elementary School teacher Kelsie Grant had a TV routine with her mom every night — Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Family Feud. 

So when Grant not only appeared on Wheel of Fortune last week, but won a free trip to Maui to boot, it was “like a dream come true,” she said. “It was a whirlwind, but it was a dream.”

Grant decided on a whim to apply to the show back in 2022, thinking nothing would ever come of it. Around a year later, Grant received an email from the bookers.

“I thought it was a scam,” she said. 

But her tech-savvy friend double-checked the email address and confirmed that it was, in fact, the real deal. 

In December, Grant and her husband escaped the northeast weather and flew out to sunny California. She said the show made her feel welcome from the moment she got there.

Grant didn’t win the initial toss-up, but got the first puzzle right, correctly guessing the phrase “Sure to put a smile on your face.” 

The second puzzle didn’t go her way, but Grant won big on the prize puzzle, correctly guessing the phrase “Making a name for myself.” That’s where Grant received her Hawaiian vacation, a destination she’s been dreaming of for years. 

“I have a bucket list of places I want to go and [Hawaii] is literally like number two,” she said. 

After the show, Grant reunited with her husband: “The first thing he said to me was ‘I am so proud of you,’” she said. 

“Other than my wedding day and my honeymoon, it was the best experience of my life,” Grant said. “To be able to have that experience and make those memories was amazing — But then to be able to leave knowing that I have a trip coming up where I'm going to make more memories.”

Dartmouth Public Schools sent a message spotlighting Grant’s appearance, so most of her students saw her win on live television. 

“I came in the next day and they were all like ‘You’re going to Hawaii!’”, Grant said. 

She gave DeMello Elementary School a shoutout on the show too. 

Along with her own first grade class, Grant said past students have come back to visit and congratulate her on the appearance and the trip. 

“'I’m sure some of them have never even seen the show before, but the love and support that I felt from the whole school, … them and their families, has just been out of this world,” Grant said. 

Grant said her mom was “beyond proud” to see her on the show. Her mom is also a teacher, and wore to school a “Wheel of Fortune” shirt with a sticker that said “Mom” stuck on below. 

She has not applied for any other game shows just yet, but she’s definitely interested in giving it another go. Jeopardy would be a little foreboding, she said, but her family may be on board for a round of Family Feud.

“I’d probably be a little bit calmer now that I know a little bit of what to expect,” Grant said. “I’d be just as excited.”