Skip to comments.Local pair elated by trip from Winfrey (Columbus)
Posted on 09/16/2010 10:16:34 AM PDT by buccaneer81
Australia vacation Local pair elated by trip from Winfrey Thursday, September 16, 2010 02:53 AM By Amy Saunders THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The teacher in Jerry McSwords wanted to tell everyone to quiet down.
Oprah Winfrey was hinting at a vacation giveaway bigger than a trip to New York or Los Angeles - and the 300 people in her studio audience in Chicago were already shrieking so much that McSwords could barely hear her.
"Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the wooorrrld!" Winfrey bellowed. "We're going to Australia! We are going to Australia! You and you and you and you are going to Australia!"
As the audience screamed even louder and confetti streamed into the studio, McSwords and his wife, Julie - both 38-year-old teachers in Westerville schools - stood in shock and disbelief.
"I don't think my mouth closed for the rest of the taping," said Jerry, a math teacher at Westerville Central High School. "It's gradually sinking in: She's taking us with her."
For the couple, scoring tickets to the 25th- and final-season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show - which aired Monday - was enough of a gift.
Until a camping trip with their three children this summer to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, the couple hadn't traveled outside Ohio in a decade.
Neither has visited a foreign country. And they never had time for a honeymoon, marrying in 1998 on the lone weekend between former coach Jerry's football and wrestling seasons.
"Just going to Chicago was our little honeymoon," said Julie, a life-sciences teacher at Genoa Middle School.
Both have been longtime Oprah fans: Throughout high school in Sandusky, Ohio, Julie called the show's 800 number (without her parents' permission) hoping to get tickets.
And while growing up in Martins Ferry, Jerry was enthralled when Winfrey came to nearby Bellaire High School to tape a show about eastern Ohio's struggling economy.
The couple now record Oprah daily and watch it together after their children - ages 8, 5 and 1 - go to bed.
In July, they submitted an online application under Julie's name to be considered "ultimate viewers" - loyal fans since the show's beginning. An invitation to a taping arrived in late August, at which time Julie did what Winfrey would call "the ugly cry."
The McSwordses don't yet know any details of the trip Down Under other than what Winfrey said on television. As the episode was taped last Thursday, they had to keep the gift a secret (but invited friends and neighbors over to watch the show Monday).
The plans for Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure, Winfrey told her audience, include visiting the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne and the "Sydney Oprah House." She'll tape her show overseas for the first time in the program's history.
All expenses for the eight-day vacation will be paid: The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian government will spend more than $3million on the trip in an effort to boost tourism.
The McSwordses have yet to talk to school officials about taking time off in December for the trip.
The district contract with the teachers union allows for leave requests, according to Greg Viebranz, spokesman for Westerville schools.
"It would be a matter of the McSwordses working with our human-resources department to make sure that their request is within the provisions of the contract," he said. "A decision will be made once we learn the details of the request."
Even before she won the Australian trip, Julie said, Oprah had changed her life. The show has helped her with personal issues and parenting, she said, and influenced her decision to become a teacher.
"I really try to live in the moment because of her. . . . (Winfrey says:) Be your authentic self, be who you are, and good things will come to you."
"Just seeing her was exhilarating," she continued. "I've dreamed about this for 20 years.'"
Publics schools are full of kooks like this.
Hussein Obama gets the same reaction when he gives away stuff, too.
But I thought rich people were evil who never gave away anything??
Why doesn’t she do a show where she offers a $30K JOB plus benefits to 300 people on welfare?
what the hey... she could start an industry. H
ave them build things for disabled people... See what happens when PRIVATE business rpoveds jobs and hand outs (I bet it is much mor efficient then the 27% efficiency rate the government admits to for welfare)
If she could get them to accept the jobs...
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