MODESTO, CA - First grade teacher Mandy DeBoer sent an essay to the Ellen Show professing her love for the San Francisco 49ers.
A call from the Ellen Show producers said she was one of several finalists competing for a Super Bowl ticket. Well, Ellen DeGeneres sort of tricked her.
"Ok, well, these people actually work for me, so it's just you two," DeGeneres said to DeBoer and a Ravens fan on her show after two other contestants were ousted as rigging the first competition.
DeBoer was only one of two finalists. In the show, which aired Friday afternoon, DeBoer won the rubber jousting competition against the Ravens fan and won a trip to watch the Super Bowl in New Orleans. She was already flying south when News10 learned the good news from her father.
Chris Wherry has replayed the video on Ellen's website several dozen times Friday. He was actually the first to know his daughter was going to the Super Bowl with Ellen.
"They were driving her back to her hotel when she called," said Wherry. "And she's going 'Hey, I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but I'm going to tell. I won. I'm going to the Super Bowl. But you can't tell anybody!'"
But by the time Ellen posted the video, everyone knew. Everyone, except for DeBoer's vice principal who was teaching her class in her absence.
"What? She won? Yes!" exclaimed Vice Principal David Franklin, who encouraged News10 cameras to come onto Great Valley Academy on Wednesday to interview DeBoer before her trip to the Ellen Show.
"It just fits with who she is," said Franklin. "She brings a lot of life into the classroom. She always has joy and she shares that with her kids."
Her dad is arguably an even bigger 49ers fan and a long-time season ticket holder who missed out on several Super Bowl lotteries in the past. He said he's not jealous, just proud.
"I told her she has to bring me back a hat and a shirt," Wherry said. "She said OK."
Everyone in the area has one more person they need to be looking for at the Super Bowl. If it helps to spot her, she'll be sitting with Ellen.