Episode 3: Pass or Fail
School volunteers Kay Heath and Kay Cole explain that the students come from mostly disadvantaged backgrounds. While their parents work hard, there is rarely money for extras and many of the kids have never had a real Christmas.
"This event isn't just about a missed Christmas," says Brandi. "It's about giving the children hope."
The team gets off to a rocky start when Rachael and Kim meet with Principal Tyra Stemley without Sheg and Carlana.
"Sheg and I were left to put my chair together and follow in behind the other two," Carlana says. "But we really need to be a unified team to find out the needs of the school."
"We are a school that is 90% economically disadvantaged," she says. "We have had 12 break-ins and it really bothered the children because they were worried about whether they're safe. I think they deserve more."
As Andre relays his excitement about Project Field of Dreams over the phone, the team members talk over each other and have trouble showing a united front.
"This man is an international star," says Rachael. "He's probably wondering, 'What's going on here?'"
"It's $100," Eric says. "It's not Christmas without a Christmas tree."
After getting a tour of the school and talking with the teachers, Andre has a plan. "We're going to put together an event where we can raise some serious money," he says.
"The team seems like they are organized amidst all the chaos," says Tony. "There is a lot on their plate in order to make everything happen."
The team's goal is to raise $100,000 in 30 minutes. That's no problem for Andre, who auctions off a tennis lesson with him and Steffi to the two highest bidders at $70,000 apiece!
"We managed to work out our differences and make a dream come true," says Kim. "I can't tell you how good it feels seeing those little kids running around on that playground."
"Was it a success? Yes, it was great," says judge Jamie Oliver. "Did they raise much money? Not really. I don't think they used Tony as much as they should have."
"These kids have no idea what's going on behind their backs," Cameron says. "Behind that wall is a winter wonderland."
On the count of three, the kids turn around to see the wonderland, and each student is given a gift from Mrs. Claus. Plus, Team Forgotten Christmas presents Velasco Elementary with two brand new color copiers and a plasma TV.
After the judges deliberate, Carlana is left holding an envelope with no plane ticket.
"Teamwork is important here," says judge Tony Gonzalez. "The Field of Dreams team didn't work well together. Rachael may be hard to get along with at times, but Carlana definitely got in the way of the team's progress."
Oprah's Big Give judge Jamie Oliver says the judges had a hard time deciding who to eliminate that week. In fact, it was their longest deliberation of the season. "My job is to judge them on their achievements, their philanthropy, their entrepreneurial spirit," he says. "If I had a little soft spot for any of the contestants, it was for my girl here."
In the end, it was Carlana's constant bickering with Rachael that was her undoing. "It was a bit like being in high school, to be honest," Jamie says. "I think that plan would have been not to bite as much at Rachael. Rachael's quite provocative, and I think it was tough."
Looking back, Carlana says she wouldn't change much about her last challenge. "I stand before you, or sit before you, proud as can be that I did everything in my power to really push myself to the limits," she says. "I'm a control freak, and that was something that was very trying for me to really take a backseat."
Special thanks to all those who helped during this episode of Oprah's Big Give