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Long Island School Teacher Wins 'Survivor' In Season 39's Finale

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS) - From a Long Island classroom to cutthroat beaches in Fiji, one Bayview native has gone on to become the winner of the 39th season of "Survivor: Island Of The Idol" on CBS.

The announcement of 26-year-old Tommy Sheehan's victory was shown on Wednesday night's broadcast of the iconic reality TV series. He brings home a $1 million prize.

Originally a member of the Vokai Tribe, Tommy's social game was strong from the start, winning over rivals with his school teacher charm.

Competitor Lauren Beck could not burn through her rope before Dean Kowalski, sending him with Noura Salman and Sheehan as the final three. Each contestant made their case to the jury, facing questions about the show's social game, tactics and strategy.

In September, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported on the future "Survivor" champ about his chances going into the show and using his experience as a school teacher in the game.

"On the show, you deal with so many different types of people that come from different walks of life and that's what teaching is," said Sheehan. "Every kid is completely different."

survivor teacher
Tommy Sheehan with his students. (Credit: CBSN New York)

The 26-year-old teaches at the Floral Park-Bellerose School District, born and raised in Bayville. He's used to living on Long Island – but quickly learned surviving on the very different island in Fiji would be a lot harder.

MORE: Stream All 39 Seasons Of Survivor On CBS All Access

"On that island, there's 19 other people that are all lying to me, that are trying to vote me out," he said.

Sheehan found out he was selected to be on the show in March after sending in a 3-minute demo tape. His principal gave him the three months off to film the show; having to keep it a secret from everyone.

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