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The Price is Right for New Foundations principal

Erin Herschberger at a watch party at the Ashburner.
Family and friends cheered on Erin all the way to the Showcase.

Erin Herschberger is principal at New Foundations Charter Elementary School and decided to spend the last week in March – when the school was closed for spring break – in California with her husband, Frank.

In February, as part of planning for the trip, they requested priority tickets for The Price is Right. The tickets, for March 27, guaranteed that they would be in the audience.

“I’m obsessed with The Price is Right, and I always have been. I’m a huge game show fan,” said Erin, who joined her husband in dressing up as Price is Right contestants last Halloween. 

As fans of the long-running game show know, it starts with announcer George Gray calling out four names from the crowd to “come on down” to contestant row.

After two names were announced, Gray said, “Erin Herschberger, come on down.”

Herschberger, whose episode was televised May 6, explained that the studio is rather small and loud, so a producer holds up the names of the contestants about to be called.

“I saw my name before I heard it. I couldn’t believe it. It was really happening,” she said during a watch party with friends and family at the Ashburner Inn.

New Foundations students watched in their classrooms as Herschberger lost the first two pricing games before getting a chance to bid on a patio heater, She bid $1,300. And while the actual retail price was $2,088, she was closest to the price without going over.

Herschberger raced up on stage, hugged host Drew Carey and told him, “I’m principal at New Foundations Charter School in Philly, baby.” She was dressed in a green shirt that read, “Principal on vacation. Ready to come on down.”

Herschberger played a game called Cover Up, featuring green ribbons for May being Mental Health Awareness Month. Given a choice of numbers, she had to pick the price of a Mitsubishi Mirage ES. She got four of the five numbers right and was given a final chance to correctly pick the third number. With her husband and the crowd urging her to pick “9,” she did and won the car, priced at $18,964.

Herschberger sprinted to the car as the show went on commercial. Later, she found out that she didn’t really win the car and would be given the cash equivalent because the car was not available.

“That’s OK,” she said.

She was also given a license plate with the words, “I won this car on The Price is Right,” to place on her own car.

Next up was the Showcase Showdown. During her spin, Herschberger had a chance to say hello to her husband, their dog Beans, the New Foundations “Bulldogs” and her “Girl Gang” of besties, and she even got in, “Go Birds.”

Herschberger was overjoyed to see the wheel brought on to the stage. She was wearing flashy red and green earrings made by friend Kim Hewins that were designed in the shape of the wheel.

“I teared up a little. The wheel is iconic,” she said. “I was happy to spin the wheel.”

Herschberger was even happier when her first spin landed on 20 cents and the second on 80 cents, giving her $1, which meant she won $1,000 and a trip to the Showcase at the end of the show.

“I tried to give it the best, strongest spin I could, and it worked out,” she said.

In the Showcase, Herschberger went up against a young guy named Taylor, who had been in front of her in line before the show.

“He was so nice,” she said.

The first showcase featured a home gym, Versace shoes and a Volkswagen Jetta Sport. Herschberger passed the showcase to Taylor, who bid $34,500.

Her showcase consisted of a digital camera and trips to Yellowstone National Park, Italy and Australia.

She bid $36,000, but the cost was only $27,836.

“I just went a little over,” said Erin, adding that she thought the flights would be more costly.

Taylor went over by just $62, meaning nobody won a showcase and Carey was left to tell viewers to help control the pet population by having their pets spayed and neutered.

Still, the experience exceeded Herschberger’s expectations. She won a pricing game, $1,000 and the cash equivalent of a car.

“All I wanted to hear was, ‘Erin Herschberger, come on down.’ “

Herschberger, 40 and a lifelong Tacony resident, said she has watched the show for as long as she can remember, often at her late grandfather Frank Curry’s house on Tulip Street. She even remembers the famous 1987 episode when Bob Barker came out with gray hair after years of dying his hair. A young Erin thought it was Barker’s dad.

While she overbid on the showcase, Erin and Frank are planning a trip to Italy anyway, and she’ll have great memories of being on her favorite show.

“It was the best day of my life,” she said. ••

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