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Bloomsburg’s first Sole-Survivor named, and a big announcement for fall 2024!

Jake Casella, the Sole Survivor for Season 1 of Survivor-Bloomsburg. Photo submitted by George Kinzel.

The Survivor-Bloomsburg Finale episode was packed full of excitement as the final four castaways battled for the title of Sole Survivor. The Final Four included Alek Harkins, Claire Schmoke, Jake Casella, and Katie Doebler. In the end, Jake Casella won the title of Sole Survivor and the prize money of $1,000.

This episode began with the remaining four castaways competing in a relay race. In this challenge, the castaways were paired up, with Schmoke and Doebler on one team, and Casella and Harkins on the other. The first part of this relay involved one castaway memorizing numbers that were across the room and then coming back and relaying those numbers to their partner. The other person then had to write down all the numbers and decode the numbers into letters to create a sentence.

Harkins (left) relaying numbers to Casella (right) during the first challenge of the night. (Maddie Bolger)

Next, the castaways took turns running to pick up a puzzle piece from across the room and bring it back. Once they had collected all the pieces, they could begin to solve the puzzle. Then the last portion of this relay involved the pairs splitting up and each building a pyramid of plastic cups that was 15 levels high. Whoever completed this final task first was the winner of the challenge.

Casella and Harkins originally had a lead in this challenge, as Harkins was fast at relaying the numbers to Casella. However, they struggled with decoding the numbers into letters, giving Doebler and Schmoke an advantage. Doebler and Schmoke completed the first two parts of the challenge pretty quickly, and moved on to the third part before Casella and Harkins could decode the numbers into letters. Eventually, Casella and Harkins gave up and cheered on Doebler and Schmoke. Both girls were doing pretty well with their pyramids until Doebler’s fell, causing her to have to start again. This gave Schmoke a little bit of an advantage and she ended up winning this challenge.

Schmoke (left) and Doebler (right) while solving their puzzles in the first challenge of the night. (Maddie Bolger)

Schmoke’s victory granted her immunity, meaning she was automatically in the final three. She was also given the opportunity to bring another castaway to the final three with her. After conversations with each of the other castaways, she decided to bring Harkins with her, leaving Casella and Doebler to battle it out in the final challenge of the season.

In this challenge, the two castaways were each given a box with 40 items used or photos taken within the game. Casella and Doebler were tasked with organizing all these items into an order according to when they were first introduced on the show. They were also given a time limit of 15 minutes, after which the hosts would tally up who had the most correct and that would be the winner.

After a lot of thinking and switching around from Casella and Doebler, the 15 minutes were up and the hosts (double and triple) checked their answers to identify a winner. In the end, Casella won this challenge, which unfortunately meant Doebler was eliminated from the game.

The final three castaways while being questioned by the jury members. (Maddie Bolger)

Once the final three castaways were identified, it was time to decide who would win the title of Sole Survivor. At this point, each member of the jury stood and asked each of the final three castaways a question or two. These questions ranged in difficulty and specificity, as they were meant to help the jury decide who should win the game.

After each jury member asked their questions, it was time to vote. Each member of the jury went individually to vote in another location, and they were not allowed to talk at all until every jury member had voted. The hosts then gathered the responses and read who each vote was for.

The final three castaways with the members of the jury, who decided which castaway would win. Photo submitted by George Kinzel.

After much anticipation, it was revealed that Jake Casella won the competition. He is the sole survivor of Survivor-Bloomsburg Season 1, and he received the $1,000 prize.

After the title of Sole Survivor was given out, the host, Jacob Dill, invited all 24 of the original castaways on stage for a reunion. Dill asked a variety of questions, from why certain castaways did certain things to how castaways felt about certain events.

The original 24 castaways during the reunion portion of the finale show. (Maddie Bolger)

To conclude the night, George Kinzel and the BU Student Involvement team announced Season 2 of Survivor-Bloomsburg, that will be taking place this fall. Applications are open now to be a part of this, so sign up today! YOU could be the next Sole Survivor of Survivor-Bloomsburg.

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Maddie Bolger, Multimedia Journalist

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