Joe Dela Pena believes anyone can handle being a contestant on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."
"You just need some general knowledge, and to stay abreast on current topics," Dela Pena said. "If you don’t put yourself out there you’ll never know if you can do it."
The Orland Park resident, who coaches tennis at Providence Catholic High School and Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox, coaches the speech team at Moraine Valley Community College and works as a youth tennis instructor, earned $17,000 after answering four questions correctly on the game show Wednesday.
Dela Pena returns to the show 4 p.m. Thursday on WGN to see if he can get closer to the million dollar grand prize.
Dela Pena learned he was chosen to be a contestant minutes after his nephew was born.
"I was about to walk in the delivery room to see him," he said. "I got the call and thought 'my nephew can wait a couple minutes.'"
Family is important to Dela Pena. Inspired after his father Roger Dela Pena overcame prostate cancer, Joe decided to participate in the American Cancer Society Walk and Roll, and has raised $910 as of Wednesday night.
Joe plans to buy his parents a condo, spoil his nephew and put money toward opening up his own bakery with the winnings. He started baking cookies to raise money for the ACS, and the demand has been so overwhelming since he began, Dela Pena is considering taking it further.
"I'd like to start with a commissary kitchen," he said. "Get the product into mom and pop shops, and if that went well maybe an actual store front.
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