West Side News

Senior makes 'Price is Right'

Student wins a coffeemaker, gets life advice from Drew Carey

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Erin Cunningham (right), a senior at Grove City High School and daughter of Craig and Sherrie Cunningham, appeared as a contestant on the TV show The Price is Right.
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Many people can say they spent their spring break in California, but not as many can say they ended up on television.

Erin Cunningham, a senior at Grove City High School and daughter of Craig and Sherrie Cunningham, appeared as a contestant on the TV show The Price is Right.

Her episode was taped in Los Angeles March 26 and aired on nationwide Thursday, April 4. Footage of her performance also was shown at her school.

"It was amazing," Cunningham said of the experience at Grove City High School. "The atmosphere was crazy. Everyone was yelling and screaming. It was so much fun."

Cunningham attended the show with Mandy Thompson, owner of the Hair Gallery and Day Spa in Grove City, whose son Chandler, a junior at Grove City High School, is Cunningham's boyfriend. Chandler couldn't attend the show because he's not yet 18.

"If I couldn't get called, it's the next best thing," Mandy Thompson said.

Their day began at 8:30 a.m. when they arrived at the studio with everyone else who had tickets to the show. What followed was hours of waiting, interviewing and getting their picture taken before the taping.

"They interviewed everyone that walked through the door," Thompson said.

No one in the audience for the taping knows if they're going to be called, but Thompson said it seemed to catch the interest of the interviewers that Cunningham is an Irish Dancer.

"She busted out an Irish dance," Thompson said.

When the taping began, Cunningham was the first one called down.

"We were all sitting and the music started, and suddenly, I saw my name on this big poster board," Cunningham said. "I jumped up and down and ran down."

After winning a coffee maker by guessing closest to its actual retail price, Cunningham played the game "Come or Going" in which she had to guess the correct price of the brand-new dining room set she was trying to win.

"I would always look back at (Thompson)," she said. "I was so nervous."

She didn't win the dining room set, but Cunningham got to spin the wheel, rolling 90 cents before being eliminated by another contestant who rolled a $1.

"It's so heavy," she said of the wheel.

Off-camera, Cunningham said Price is Right host Drew Carey apologized she wasn't competing for a prize more fitting for a high school student.

"He was so nice," Cunningham said. "He gave me this big speech about going off to college and how I need to read a book about goal setting."

Cunningham said she is currently undecided on which college she plans to attend, but she is looking into studying early childhood education.

Thompson said it was exhausting but very fun.

"You feel like you've run a marathon," she said.

Thompson said she plans to go back.

This was her second time at The Price is Right; the first was 25 years ago, back when Bob Barker was still the host, but neither time was she called down as a contestant.

"I'm getting on that show before I die," she said. "I'm not giving up."

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