Davidsonville family a finalist on Funniest Home Videos show

NEIGHBORS

March 20, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN YOU TUNE into America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC at 8 p.m. Sunday, you may recognize one of the families vying for the evening's top prize of $10,000.

Take a good look, and you'll see it's Jeff and Rachele Donohue of Davidsonville, along with their children, Jeff, 15, David, 13, and Katie, 10.

"They called us on a Wednesday, and we had to be out there by Monday morning," said Rachele. "It was kind of hectic, but when you get something that exciting, you figure it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Guests of the show are given accommodations, meals and treated like visiting royalty, so the Donohues had three unforgettable days of a California dream vacation while the show featuring their video -- "Boys Don't Want a Sister" -- was in rehearsal and then taped.

The home video that got them to Universal City was shot more than 10 years ago, when Rachele was pregnant with her third child.

Expecting an enthusiastic reaction from their two young sons when they heard the news that they were about to have a baby sister, the parents brought out the video camera to record the tender moment.

But, as is often the case when dealing with children, the reaction of the boys -- then 3 and 5 -- was quite the opposite.

"They weren't excited at all," says mom, a guidance counselor at Prince George's County's Woodmore Elementary School. "They were very disappointed. They didn't want a sister who couldn't play 'hockeys' or 'footballs' or 'nothin.' "

With the camera rolling, their negative reaction was recorded for posterity. Over the next decade, the video was a source of entertainment for Rachele and Jeff (who works at Homebuyers Mortgage of Washington Homes) and their friends.

Recently, the couple decided the video was good enough to submit to the show. Contestants can win either $2,000, $3,000 or the top prize of $10,000. Top winners compete for a grand prize of $100,000.

Five weeks after the video was mailed, the family was invited to appear on the show -- selected as one of the top three for this Sunday's show, but you'll have to watch to find out how the Donohues fared.

"We aren't allowed to reveal the results before the show is aired," says Rachele, "but since we got to take our first trip to the West Coast and see Hollywood and Universal Studios, I already feel like a winner."

As for how the boys feel about their sister these days, "Sometimes they have their arguments, but for the most part they get along fine," mom says. "The kids look back and laugh now."

And even if "footballs" didn't work out, Katie's turned out to be pretty athletic -- a good runner and taking up lacrosse.

Family run

You appreciate all the good things Severna Park High School does for the community. Now is the opportunity for your family to show its support by jumping feet first into the school 5-K Family Fun Run April 5.

Proceeds from the race (3.1 miles), sponsored by the school PTSO, will help supply the growing need for computers and software for students.

Registration will be held from 8 a.m. to 8: 45 a.m., with the race starting at 9 a.m. Awards will be presented at 10 a.m. -- except for those who are still running.

Preregistration at $10 buys you a T-shirt; preregistration for the race only is $5. Race-day registration is $12 and $7.

Information: race director Mary Ostrye, 410-647-9232.

Creating a topiary

If you've been looking for the perfect decoration for your Easter table, how about making a miniature topiary?

Sponsored by the Severna Park Jaycees, a topiary workshop will be taught by Penny DeHoff from 12: 30 p.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Sunday at the Jaycee center at Kinder Park off Jumpers Hole Road. Information: 410-544-5189.

Pub Date: 3/20/97

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