February 5, 2009
09-020

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

VSU Alumna Spins the Wheel This Friday

VALDOSTA - VSU alumna Jacinta Harvey, ’06 and ’08, will appear on “Wheel of Fortune" at 7 p.m. this Friday on WCTV Channel 6.

The adult mental health therapist has been watching “Wheel of Fortune” since she could walk. So, when the opportunity to audition for the iconic game show presented itself, Harvey and her older brother, Lenon Jr., headed to Orlando, Fla., for their spin at the wheel.

The siblings were named a finalist for an episode during Family Week but later found out the lineup was overbooked. Glad they gave their chances a whirl but heartily disappointed, the two resolved to remain couch cushion contestants. Jacinta, who graduated from VSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, described her affect as “shocked” when producers called to request her appearance during a regular taping of "Wheel of Fortune" in Los Angeles, Calif.

“I broke the news to my brother (nervously), but he was excited for me,” said Jacinta, who also received a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling from VSU. “I've been watching 'Wheel of Fortune' almost everyday, playing along as the contestant solve the puzzles. They told us during auditions that it's important to shout your letters loudly so you can be heard, to smile, and show your personality. Clapping is also a must.”

Jacinta, who traditionally enjoys public speaking, admitted she is a bit nervous about appearing on the nationally televised show Feb. 6. She is confident about categories like “Entertainment,” “Before and After” and “Same Name,” but worries about the gamut of possible categories that may spiral her way.

“I just don’t want to be that one person who says something stupid because of nervousness like, "Can I buy a vowel: D!” said the 24-year-old, who is determined to see a celebrity during her first trip to L.A. “My mom is flying with me and will be cheering me on in the audience, so that will be comforting.”

The Adel resident said she has been calling out answers at the television with the intensity as if she were a contestant on the show since her invitation in December to spin the wheel. The active member of Morning Star Baptist Church said she is determined to keep a smile on her face, even if she hits bankruptcy, and promises to not get too greedy - both downfalls of 'Wheel of Fortune' contestants. The Lowndes High School graduate said she is going to play to win but is happy just for the experience.

“I have always liked 'Wheel of Fortune' and watched it and played along; but to be honest, my dream as a kid was to be on Jeopardy,” said Jacinta, who was in the color guard as a Lowndes High School student. “Now that I am an adult, though, I'm happy I got on 'Wheel of Fortune' because those Jeopardy questions can be hard.”