Utah teacher April Nielsen and her 75 orchestra students at Lava Ridge Intermediate School in Santa Clara were celebrating Friday after winning $15,000 and a visit from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The class earned the grand prize in the Scotch Brand’s Most Gifted Wrapper contest, in which DeGeneres encouraged her DIY viewers to submit a picture of their most creatively wrapped holiday gifts.
Utah viewers can see the surprise announcement on the daytime show Friday at 4 p.m. on KUTV Channel 2.
Nielsen, said she and her sixth- and seventh-grade students are “huge fans” of the show, and before Christmas they wrapped all their instruments — from small violins to giant cellos — in red and white wrapping paper and sent the photo to DeGeneres.
Nielsen said she suspected her class may have won when she was given two tickets to attend a taping Thursday of DeGeneres’ show in Burbank, Calif. While their teacher was in the studio, show correspondent Jeannie Klisiewicz was in Nielsen’s classroom for a live shot.
Nielsen said her students, many of whom come from families with low income and are often one day away from eviction, are especially deserving of the award. Several get fee waivers to pay for the school-provided instruments.
“The whole theme for our class is ‘You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for,’ ” she told The Tribune in a telephone interview Friday morning. “This was a real opportunity for them and it’s been amazing.”
No word, yet, on how the school will spend the $15,000. “We’ve just talked about how lucky are we,” Nielsen said. “You never think it’s going to be you.”