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'Survivor' season to feature eastern N.C. native Ron Clark

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Ron Clark on the premiere of "Survivor: Edge of Extinction." Tonight's season-opening episode is titled "It Smells Like Success."

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The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Chocowinity native Ron Clark has survived teaching in Harlem and running his own school in Atlanta. Now he'll have a chance to test his endurance skills on CBS' “Survivor.”

Clark, an East Carolina University graduate, is among 18 cast members on “Survivor: Edge of Extinction,” which premiers at 8 p.m. today. At 46, the best-selling author and award-winning teacher is among the oldest of the 18 competitors on the Emmy Award winning reality show, now in its 38th competition season.

“I still can’t believe I had the honor to do this!” Clark said on social media. “(I am) amazed, humbled and grateful!”

“Survivor” host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst said Clark, a member of the “Kama” tribe, is in for a challenge.

“He's got to be in control of his alliance,” Probst said in a promotional video released by the network. “If he's in your alliance and he's not in control, he's going to annoy you. But if he uses that skill as a teacher to form an alliance that he can be the boss of, he can be deadly.”

Clark, who began his teaching career in Aurora, is a longtime reality TV fan. He sometimes incorporates elements of programs such as “The Amazing Race” into his lessons at the Ron Clark Academy, a nonprofit middle school he founded in 2007.

Clark has watched “Survivor” since its debut in 2000. Although he is self-deprecating regarding his lack of athleticism, he believes his familiarity with the competition will be an advantage.

“I have passion, and I'm aggressive and I go for it,” he said in an interview with CBS. “I don't want to have regrets. I'm willing to do whatever it takes in the moment to be successful.”

“Survivor: Edge of Extinction” will feature a new twist in the competition for $1 million.

"After being voted out, players will be faced with a decision to either go home or go to the Edge of Extinction where they will be pushed further than ever before for a chance to get back in the game,” Probst said in a statement.

Duke University pre-med student Keith Sowell, 19, is the youngest competitor in a season that also includes a firefighter, an attorney, a new anchor, a waitress and a business owner. The season includes 14 new castaways and four returnees: Joe Anglim, Aubry Bracco, Kelley Wentworth and David Wright.

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