(WSYR-TV) — Ilene Singer Knebel, a Schenectady native and 1984 SUNY Cortland graduate, has been trying to get on Wheel of Fortune for the last 30 years. Her wish came true on January 25 when she appeared on the show.
She also ended up being the first $100,000 bonus round winner of the season, taking home a total of $112,000 and a trip to the Caribbean.
“The whole thing was just amazing,” said Knebel, who graduated cum laude from SUNY Cortland in speech communications. “And then to have to keep that secret for so long was super hard. But it made it even sweeter when my friends and family were there in the audience to see it happen.”
Apparently, Knebel also requested to help clean up at the end of the show. She said, “Because they had vacuums, blowers, the entire crew cleaning up, and I felt so bad. And they said, ‘Come on, congratulations!’ First they brought me a small broom and I said, ‘This will not do. I need a big broom.’”
Knebel said she plans to invest the winnings so she can continue supporting her favorite charities and help her children.
“It’s a lovely memory, something I’ll never do again,” she said.