BackNews Article

Gordon-Conwell Student Wins on Americas Funniest Home Videos

May 29, 2009

Jen Botzet, Master of Arts in Religion student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, recently won the $10,000 competition on ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Botzet, along with friends Bethany and Rebekah Van Goor, all originally from Wisconsin, won the prize for a video Botzet recorded of Bethany and Rebekah attempting to pull a trapped squirrel out of a hole in a tree. The friends stumbled upon the squirrel, which was too fat to get out of the hole, while taking a walk in Salem, Massachusetts, shortly after Thanksgiving. They got the idea to free the squirrel from birthing techniques Bethany and Rebekah had learned on their family farm.

“They said, ‘We’ll birth the squirrel out of the tree,’” Botzet recalls.

The encounter was filmed on “my cheap camera that was cracked on the back,” Botzet said. “I’ve never used the video feature on it before.”

They sent the video of their successful attempt to America’s Funniest Home Videos with the encouragement of the Van Goors’ mother. They received a phone call in March asking them to fly to LA the following weekend to shoot the show.

For Botzet, the best part of the filming experience was the all-expenses-paid LA vacation with her friends, which included four hours of filming, and five days of touring LA and visiting the beach. 

Winning the $10,000 entitled the friends to compete for the $100,000 prize, which, because filming occurred on the day the $10,000 show was to air, and because the girls were sworn to secrecy until after the show’s airing, was difficult. 

“They thought I was in Cambridge with my brother for church all day long,” Botzet said of friends who watched the airing of the $10,000 show without her. 

Though they did not win the $100,000 prize, Botzet, who was trying to raise funds for a six-week missions trip to Uruguay this summer, says her share of the $10,000 came at just the right time.

“I was praying the night before we got that phone call in March,” she said. “I knew I was going to be short. The next morning was when we got that call. It was definitely God’s timing.”

Back to News and Events