Lauren Snyder, 30, claims to be the junk drawer of random facts.
And rightfully so.
Snyder, a third-grade teacher at Highland Creek Elementary School, won $64,545 and a seven-day trip to Hawaii on the "Wheel of Fortune" game show that aired two weeks ago.
Last year, Snyder attended the "Wheel of Fortune" auditions in Indian Trail, where she was one of the lucky few selected to go on stage. She successfully solved the puzzle and was later called back for a second audition.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
"At that point, I was thinking I was not going to make the cut," said Snyder, who had to solve 20 puzzles in five minutes. "It just seemed impossible, but I did the best I could."
In the end, her best really paid off.
A couple of weeks later, Snyder found out she was selected to be a contestant.
"I had to read the letter like three times," said Snyder, who jumped and screamed and called her friends when she found out. "Most people were like, 'Of course you did, we've seen you play. We've watched it with you.'"
Snyder flew out to Los Angeles on Feb. 10 and was scheduled to be at Sony Studios the following day.
"I was more nervous about flying to L.A. than I was about the show," she said. "I've flown so many times in my life. It's not really a fear of crashing...more of the turbulence and uncontrollability of it all."
But for the most part, all the nerves went away during the taping of the show.
"I was just very focused on the puzzle and solving the puzzle," said Snyder. "The moment I was actually nervous was doing the final puzzle. I couldn't pick anymore letters if I wasn't sure what it was."
Since Snyder kept solving puzzle after puzzle, the camera focused in on her more than any other contestant.
The producers would say, "Smile over here and wave the million-dollar card," said Snyder. "Sometimes they had to tape it over again because I wasn't smiling long enough."
Snyder's boyfriend, Brian Harrison, a NASCAR engineer for Trevor Bayne, flew out to Los Angeles the night before the taping. He had to leave right after the show to be in Daytona for a race, but Harrison got his five minutes of fame when Snyder solved the final puzzle and won.
"We were all hugging and the producer kept making the motion and mouthing the word kiss, kiss, kiss," said Snyder, who isn't the public-display-of-affection type, but leaned in for a kiss. "I teach young children, who think that's the grossest thing," she said.
Snyder plans to pay off her student loans and save any money leftover.
Snyder has not looked over any paperwork, but after taxes, she believes her winnings probably will be less than her salary.
Since she will not receive any of her winnings until August, Snyder is telling her students to conserve pencils, for now.
Originally from Tinley Park, Ill., Snyder graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a bachelor's in elementary education in 2003. She started working with an inner-city Chicago Public School and later became a pre-school teacher and tutor at Sylvan Learning Center.
"My entire life, I always had jobs surrounding children," said Snyder. "I started off as a lifeguard, worked at a children's library in college, I babysat...I just felt called to working with children."
But Snyder wanted a job as a teacher that would pay more than minimum wage, so she moved to Charlotte in 2004.
For now, she is focused on her students and their grades.
"The best part is when you see them make progress and actually learn something...that 'Aha!' moment of they get it," said Snyder, who has been teaching at Highland Creek for seven years. "It's one of the best feelings knowing that you're helping mold them into who they are going to become."
As far as teaching challenges, Snyder finds it difficult to meet the needs of each individual child when there's only one teacher and so many students.
"School is something I enjoyed as a child and I wanted to bring that experience to other children," she said.
Snyder likes to keep herself busy when she's not teaching in the classroom. On Monday evenings, she plays on a co-ed adult kickball league at Revolution Park. She also coaches for Girls on the Run, a girls running program that promotes self-esteem, positive body image, and physical development.
"In my free time, I'm singing and dancing somewhere and being obnoxious yet entertaining," she said.