USM vocal student wins big on "Wheel of Fortune"

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) – A vocal student from the University of Southern Mississippi wins big on the popular TV game show "Wheel of Fortune".

Elliot Yates, 24, took home $48,360 in cash and prizes, which included a trip to Costa Rica Thursday night. The show was taped in November and Yates kept the outcome a secret, although he was under no contractual obligation to do so.

Though the show taped in November, Yates kept the outcome a secret. "I didn't even tell my parents," he said. "I made the choice not to tell anyone and I'm so glad I did."

A master's student in vocal performance, Yates returned to South Mississippi Thursday evening from a trip to Jamaica with fellow members of the Southern Chorale.

Yates, said being on television still seems surreal, much like a movie.

"We actually watched the show on the bus on our way home," said Yates. "The Chorale was such a good audience, they were all cheering and screaming the whole time."

After solving four puzzles for $18,360 in the primary portion of the show, Yates won the bonus round and $30,000 in cash by successfully guessing "kayaking."

With his earnings, Yates plans to pay for graduate school and possibly travel to Europe, one of his favorite places due to the rich history and music.

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