Local aims to be ‘Sole Survivor’
When “Survivor: Guatemala, The Maya Empire” airs on CBS next month, a contestant named Brian might seem familiar.
Brian Corridan, valedictorian of New Milford High School’s Class of 2001, will be one of the 16 castaways stranded amid the ancient Mayan ruins for 39 days of intense competition in the Central American rainforest jungle.
Now living in New York City and described as an Ivy League student in CBS publicity, Mr. Corridan was one of 16 contestants introduced on CBS’s “The Early Show” Aug. 11.
Mr. Corridan, the son of New Milford residents Kevin and Sherry Corridan, was vice president of the Class of 2001 at NMHS and yearbook editor.
Voted prom prince and most likely to succeed, he was accepted by early decision to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in psychology and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Sherry Corridan said Tuesday her son is “an avid, rabid fan” of “Survivor” and has been since the show debuted.
“It’s a dream come true for him,” Mrs. Corridan said.
She related that Brian was determined to become a contestant and had initially applied when he was 20 but was told to reapply after he turned 21.
“It’s been a goal for five years,” Mrs. Corridan said, adding, “We’re very proud of him, win, lose or draw.”
According to “Survivor” host Jeff Probst in a video on the
CBS website, competitors will face not only each other but some challenging elements in the upcoming season.
“This is so tough out here,” he said. “It is so hot, and the challenges are so physical.”
On top of a “grueling overnight hike,” the “Survivor” castaways will face “two additional surprises in the first episode that will dramatically impact how they play the game,” according to CBS publicity.
The 11th edition of the Emmy Award-winning series debuts on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 8 to 9 p.m. on CBS.
During an interview in 2001 after being named NMHS valedictorian, Brian said he liked “math, English, Spanish, psychology and literally everything that is not history or science.”
“I’m open to anything,” he said at the time about heading to college. “Whatever they have I’ll take.”
At NMHS, he combined his love of acting and writing by co-authoring the senior play – a murder-mystery comedy. Summers and weekends he worked at the New Milford Youth Agency and at the Top Flite Sports Center.
Then-Principal Don Fiftal described Brian, and salutatorian Kim Thornton, in 2001 as “well-rounded,” with strong records in “academics, involvement in school, leadership, artistic expression, and social involvement. They represent a lot of what’s the very best in kids these days.”
David Shaffer, who taught Brian and Kim in AP calculus, described them as two of the most talented individuals he had taught in more than three decades.
In the biography posted on the “Survivor” website, Mr. Corridan said his hero is his younger sister Casey, who rose above juvenile diabetes to captain her field hockey team at NMHS. His goal is to return to college to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and become a child/adolescent psychologist.
Mr. Corridan said in his bio that he’s studied the “Survivor” show since he was 17 and written papers on it. He said he is confident his background in psychology will help him “pinpoint people’s insecurities and weaknesses and to manipulate them to my advantage” to become the “Sole Survivor.”
“Competitive, perceptive and sarcastic” are the words he used to describe himself.
Mr. Corridan wants to keep a low profile about his past and the fact he’s an Ivy League graduate.
“You don’t come out here and say you are better than everyone,” he said in a video that aired last week on the Early Show. “That’s dumb.”
“No one is going to know I’m an Ivy League student,” he continued. “It’s a big secret. I think it’s just a stupid thing to tell people that I went to Columbia.”
In addition to Mr. Corridan, 22, contestants include Gary Hogeboom, 46, a former National Football League quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Now a real estate developer in Grand Haven, Mich., he also wants to hide his background.
“I don’t want to go by my last name on the show,” Mr. Hogeboom said in a video clip on the CBS website.
“People would vote me off immediately if someone knew I was in the NFL,” he remarked. “Everyone thinks we made big money. I was pre-big money.”
Other contestants this season include Dallas resident Blake Towsley, 24, who sells commercial real estate; 39-year-old Amy O’Hara, a police sergeant in Revere, Mass.; and Brianna Varela, a makeup artist from Edmunds, Wash., who said she’ll use her powers of persuasion honed selling women $285 wrinkle cream they don’t need in her effort to win the $1 million “Survivor” prize, according to a CBS press release.
Other contestants include Decatur, Ill., resident Morgan McDevitt, 21, a magician’s assistant, and Danni Boatwright, 30, a sports radio talk show host in Tonganoxie, Kan., who says she’s a tomboy who loves competition, remarking, “There’s nothing girlie about me.”
Fellow Kansan Brandon Bellinger, 22, a farmer; Cindy Hall, 31, a Naples, Fla., zookeeper; Lydia Morales, 42, a fishmonger in Lakewood, Wash.; Jamie Newton, 24, a water-ski instructor from North Hollywood, Calif.; and Judd Sergeant, 34, of Ridgefield, N.J., a doorman at a New York City hotel, are also competing with Mr. Corridan.
Other competitors include Brook Struck, 26, a law student in Santa Monica, Calif.; Rafe Judkins, 22, another Ivy Leaguer from Providence, R.I.; Margaret Bobonich, 43, a family nurse practitioner from Chardon, Ohio; and – the oldest competitor – Jim Lynch, 63, a retired fire captain from Northglenn, Colo.http://www.spectrum.newmilford.com/story.php?id=64965