The survivor. Willsboro’s Sophie Clarke was the winner of the CBS Television reality competition, “Survivor,” after a jury of fellow competitors voted her the champion during the Dec. 18 season finale. Clarke won $1,000,000 as the victor in the shows 23rd season.
Town Supervisor Edward “Ed” Hatch said that there is so much more to the story of Willsboro native Sophie Clarke then the 15 episodes of “Survivor.”
“I look at what she has accomplished as a young woman and the goals that she has met and the goals that she has in her life and it is just a fantastic thing,” Hatch said a day after watching Clarke earn the title of “Survivor” on the finale of the 23rd season of the CBS reality show.
“It is great to see a young person with so much enthusiasm,” Hatch added. “The family lives just a little ways from me, and I have gotten to know them, and I am very happy for her for winning.”
Hatch said that he did not know of any celebratory plans in the town, but that it would most likely be a community effort.
“She has had great support all over the town and the region,” Hatch said. “I would imagine that there would be something spearheaded by the community.”
New York State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, the former supervisor and current resident of Willsboro, said she felt Clarke was going to win from the outset of the program.
“I always thought from the very beginning that Sophie would win,” Sayward said. “She is strong, smart and driven. It didn't surprise me at all that she won. It’s wonderful. I want to extend my congratulations to Sophie, and I know she will use the money wisely.”
Sayward said that she got her “Survivor” updates from the Clarke family.
“I did keep quite close touch with family who were following it, but I was unable to follow the show because I am constantly on the road,” Sayward said. “My grandchildren are friends with her and her siblings. I know their family quite well, and they are all great young people.”
Sayward also said that she thought Clarke had an impact on the town financially, with fans of the show going to Johnny’s restaurant weekly to watch her exploits on the big screens.
“I thought it was great the town came together there,” she said. “Willsboro is a pretty tight-knit community. If someone in the community wins, everybody wins.”
Katherine Clark contributed to this article.