After months of endless clues and creative riddles, and trying 92 different lockers George Mason High School senior Addison Blakemore used a combination to finally recover $1,000. The prize was part of the first $1K giveaway from the on Channel 12.
The video clues started a couple weeks after school began in the fall and were broadcast twice a month on the FCC-TV program “School Spirit.” Soon, through word of mouth students were checking out the program and following the riddles.
“At first people thought it was a joke, then they realized there was actually a lot of money to be won,” Hank Smith 16, a producer of the show and creator of the giveaway, said.
The questions were not intended for a certain age group but were open to all high school students.
“They forced students to think outside the box and with the $1K in prize money, the giveaway even more so legitimized these 16-year-old boys as a real production,” Matt Smith, Hank’s father said.
The final clue lay in a rarely-checked-out book at the school’s library. Blakemore found the tiny piece of paper, no bigger then a tiny scroll found in a fortune cookie, inside of ‘ ‘The Biography of Benjamin Franklin’ and began to test the locker combination on 92 lockers until he found the winning one.
Hank Smith and his friends, Benson Ting and Simon Farrow are the main students who run the station. Self taught, they learned how to write scripts, operate video cameras and learn the task of editing footage.
“The boys do this on their own time, without school credit, and have learned viable skills along the way,” Matt Smith said.
Matt Smith’s company +Smith Gifford, helped the boys come up with the prize money, once they settled on the idea of a giveaway, to attract more viewers to their program.
“At first, flyers were taken down, and not until after Christmas break did we start to see people really getting into it,” Hank said.
Though the $1K giveaway ended March 2, Hank announced there will be another one in the near future.
“People know we’re down here, so now they check [the station] out more often,” Hank said. “Right now we’re working on a segment that features high school students and their most regrettable moments.”
So what ever happened to the lucky winner Addison Blakemore’s prize money? Blakemore plans to donate most of his money to a charity in Africa and to keep the rest in a savings account.