May 2020

Olivia Draffen, 13, a seventh grader at Santiago Charter Middle School, was pretty nonchalant about being on “The Price is Right.” “We went on a show, we had a great time,” was all she could say, due to signing a non-disclosure agreement, until the show aired on April 22.  Now, after winning over $51,000 worth of merchandise, she enthused: “It was really, really fun and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The experience almost didn’t happen. Back in December, Mom Tami Lewis had signed up the family – Olivii, brother James, 11, and husband Marvin Lewis to attend during Kids Week, on January 12, when school was not in session. The night before, Olivia dislocated her knee, and they were at the hospital emergency room until 2 a.m. But they decided to go ahead to the show, departing at 7 a.m. to travel to the Hollywood studio.
There, they found a long line, with many of the audience holding priority tickets. They stood in the long line, hoping that, after the priority ticket-holders entered, there would be room in the 300-capacity studio for them to enter.

They were relieved to make the cut to enter – but immediately faced another snafu. They needed the social security numbers of the kids. Marvin raced to the car to retrieve their phones (not allowed in the studio, locked safely in the car) to get the information.
Then came the interviews, in groups of 20. Mom Tami had made matching sparkly shirts for the family to wear, and encouraged the Olivia, a Santiago cheerleader, to be super-animated, in hopes of getting on stage. Olivia, though tired, kept the energy going, leading cheers and dances. When the interviewer asked what she would like to do as a career, she quickly responded that she wants to be an actress, but “my parents said it’s a hungry job.”

That line may have helped, as the family was seated in the second row when the taping began at 1 p.m. Olivia was called up for the second round, amid loud screaming. She had to guess the price of a hoverboard to advance up on stage. She snagged the hoverboard, and then correctly guessed the price of a family trip to London, winning that $17,000 prize. Then came the Showcase: Olivia did a shout out to her cheer team, school, friends and family as her mom joined her on stage. The passed on the first showcase, which included a pizza oven, hockey table and car, and then bid $32,000 on two ATVs and helmets, an 86” TV, two theater recliners and a Mazda3 auto – only $900 under retail!

The show ended promptly at 2 p.m., and paperwork took another hour – then they could eat and celebrate. However, they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement until the show aired on April 22. That, the family agreed, was the most difficult part. It was tough not to share the experience with family and friends until now.

Waiting for the show to start are, from left, Marvin Lewis, Olivia and James Dreffen and Tami Lewis.

Santiago student wins big on “The Price is Right”

Waiting for the show to start are, from left, Marvin Lewis, Olivia and James Dreffen and Tami Lewis.