Tysons ReporterMcLean HS teacher to star in next episode of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

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Jeff Brocketti, physics/astronomy teacher at McLean High School, talks about “Wheel of Fortune” (courtesy Eric McCandless/Wheel of Fortune®/© 2022 Califon Productions, Inc. ARR)

McLean High School teacher Jeffrey Brocketti can’t wait to tell everyone what he discussed with host Pat Sajak during a “Wheel of Fortune” commercial break.

He will soon be allowed to share that story and more after his episode – the 10th of the game show’s 40th season – airs at 7 p.m. Monday (Sept. 26) on ABC.

However, when it comes to solving Hangman-style word puzzles, even Brocketti can go blank when he turns on the TV next week – a common occurrence, based on conversations with other contestants.

“They don’t remember all the puzzles on their show, which seems ridiculous,” Brocketti told FFXnow. “You would think it would just be seared into your brain, but it’s not. So, I can’t wait to see the episode, just to see how it went and does it fit to my memories.”

Brocketti, who taught physics and astronomy at McLean High for more than a decade, describes the experience of filming a show he watched as a child as “surreal”.

He applied to become a candidate “on a whim” in April 2021 at the suggestion of his wife and one of his children. He initially dismissed the idea, but as he ‘sat’ a few weeks later he decided it couldn’t hurt, especially since the pandemic had brought the whole process online. test.

After submitting the form and a 30-second video pitch, Brocketti admits he forgot about the whole company until last January, when an unexpected email appeared in his inbox: he had been selected to participate in a virtual audition.

“The first thing I did was check the email address to make sure it wasn’t some kind of phishing email,” he said. . “I thought it was a scam, and once I figured out it was legit, I realized, oh, this could actually happen.”

Said in February that he made the cut, Brocketti set his DVR to record “Wheel” and watched each night with his family, pretending to compete with on-screen contestants with a pen as a fake ringtone.

However, it fell out of routine around mid-April, so a backlog of over 70 episodes had built up by the time he was told his episode would be filmed at the Sony Pictures studios lot in Culver City, in California on July 28.

“I watched over three months worth of episodes in two weeks,” Brocketti recalled with a laugh. “So that was my preparation. Just watch the show and play against people on TV and try to improve.

In some ways, competing in person was easier than at home, Brocketti says. Unlike on TV, contestants can still see the panels displaying each puzzle and the letters used, and after going through two dress rehearsals, his nervousness evaporated once the real game began.

However, the “deluge of information you have in your brain” made it difficult to concentrate and fully digest the experience, he added.

Brocketti isn’t the first person to represent Fairfax County on “Wheel,” following in the footsteps of a former Chantilly little league coach who won nearly $123,000. He encourages anyone interested in participating in the show to try their luck.

“Try it and see what happens,” he said.

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