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Houston-area teacher to compete in new season of 'Survivor'

Season 44 of "Survivor" premieres on March 1.

MONT BELVIEU, Texas — A Houston-area teacher will be competing for the million-dollar prize in the new season of the CBS show "Survivor."

Lauren Harpe, 31, grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. Now, she's an elementary school teacher in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

She said being picked as a contestant on "Survivor" is the opportunity of a lifetime.

"I think my castmates, they are going to underestimate me," she said. "They are going to think I'm just, like, this cute, like, young-looking girl, but what they really don't know is that I've been through a lot."

Harpe is a single mom of two boys. She said being a single mom is what prepared her for the game.

"I am adaptable," she said. "Going through a divorce, I had to just pick up the pieces and just go with it, and so here, in this game, I'm going to be able to adapt in any situation and roll with it."

Season 44 of "Survivor" begins on March 1 with a two-hour premiere.

Season 43 winner

A Kingwood, Texas, man won Season 43 of "Survivor."

Mike Gabler, a heart valve specialist, was the second-oldest winner in the history of "Survivor." He announced that he was donating his $1 million prize money to veterans.

READ: Houston-area native wins 'Survivor,' pledges prize money to veterans

"There are people who need the money more," Gabler said after winning. "I'm going to donate the entire prize, the million dollars, in my father's name, Robert Gabler, who was a Green Beret. To veterans in need who came back with trauma, psychiatric problems, PTSD and to curb the suicide epidemic. We're going to save lives, do something good."

That was the first time a winner announced they were donating their entire prize money to a cause.

KHOU 11 anchor Rekha Muddaraj spoke to Gabler about his experience on the show and his selfless act of donating his prize money. Watch below.

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