GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – "Next Thursday, I will be leaving the continent," Charlotte Giles announced to her fourth graders Wednesday.
A few of them gasped when she said, "I'm going to Sydney, Australia, because my sister won tickets to see the Oprah Winfrey show."
While most of her students were speechless when Jiles told them the news, Jiles had a different reaction when her sister called her last month to invite her to spend five days down under.
"I made sure I closed my bedroom door so my boys couldn't hear me screaming," said Jiles. "She just knew that her older sister was an Oprah fan and that I would love going to Sydney, Australia. So it's been overwhelming. I still can't believe it."
Jiles watches Oprah's talk show as often as she can and subscribes to her magazine. Two years ago, she toured HARPO Studios in Chicago, but didn't get to see the queen of daytime television. On December 14, however, Jiles will be in the audience to watch Oprah in person.
"To see her face to face and hopefully get a handshake or maybe an autograph," said Jiles. "I know she loves teachers and just to let her to know that a little teacher from Mississippi came all the way to Sydney to see you."
Jiles has been teaching at Central Elementary for ten years. She will turn her Australian adventure into a learning experience for her students.
"We have lots of topics that we can start researching about Australia," she told her class.
When asked what they think about their teacher going to Australia, her students shouted, "Excited!"
"It's making me feel jealous, because I want to go," said eleven-year-old Satoria Smith.
"It's going to be awesome there," said eleven-year-old Christopher Reece.
"She is a great teacher and she needs a break from doing something with kids," said ten-year-old Todd Graham.
WLOX-TV airs the Oprah Winfrey Show weekdays at 3 p.m. Jiles will be part of the evening taping of the show and that special episode will air early next year.
Click here to learn more about Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure.