Upper St. Clair resident wins big on ‘Ellen’
Jaime Miller and her husband Chris became $10,000 richer May 1, thanks to talk-show host Ellen Degeneres. Two members of Ellen’s crew surprised the Millers at their home in Overland Park, Kan., with the cash prize as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, Mexico.
Jaime Miller, a 2004 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, said on the evening of April 30 she and her husband were in their apartment when the phone rang.
“I got a call and there was a lady on the phone with an accent asking me if I watched the ‘Ellen Degeneres Show,’” Jaime Miller said. Confused, she said that yes, of course she watched the show.
That lady turned out to be Degeneres herself, and she told the Millers that they needed to go to their front door “right now.”
Standing at the door were Ellen correspondents Andy Zenor and Jeannie Klisiewicz, as well as an entire camera crew.
“I fell on the floor screaming,” Jaime Miller said. The Millers then had to answer questions in order to win money. For each correct answer, they received $1,000. The questions ranged from naming a movie featuring a lion, since the couple graduated from Penn State, to what Ellen does before each show (eats a mint).
“In the end, we got up to $7,000,” Jaime Miller said, but Ellen wanted to make it an even $10,000.
Seeing the Ellen Degeneres show in person has been on Jaime Miller’s “Bucket List” for years. In fact, she reminded her husband about it nearly every day. Chris Miller took those reminders to heart and tried reserving tickets to the show, but there were nearly 30,000 people on the waiting list.
When Chris Miller saw an application on the show’s website to honor deserving teachers, he decided to write a letter, unbeknownst to his wife. Jamie Miller is a kindergarten teacher at an underprivileged school, and Chris is in school to become a chiropractor, so money is tight, Jaime Miller said. Out of the thousands of letters the show received, his was chosen.
In addition to her full-time teaching job, Jaime Miller also runs a teaching blog called “A Spoonful of Learning.”
“I’m not exaggerating when I say I work 100 hours a week,” Jaime Miller said, adding that she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t go to bed until after midnight most days. She doesn’t complain, going on to say of teaching, “It’s the best job ever. I love it. It’s so much fun for me.”
As for winning the money and trip, Jaime Miller said, “I’m going crazy. It’s a dream come true.
She added that she is honored to have been chosen as the winner. “There are so many deserving people,” she said. ”I’m so grateful. I can never thank them enough. It doesn’t seem real to me,” she said.
She said they plan on using the money for bills and save some for a down payment on a house in the future. They hope to take their trip to Cancun next summer. In the meantime, Jaime Miller’s “Bucket List” will be complete soon as the couple was invited to attend a taping of the Ellen Show.