Nebraska police officer receives $75,000 for college costs on ‘Ellen’

A Lincoln police officer and her daughter appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Monday and received a big surprise — $75,000 for college education costs.

Officer Chassidy Jackson-Goodwin said it was a thrill.

“It’s just a blessing,” she said. “An unexpected, unbelievable blessing.”

The route to the show started in December. The show was seeking nominations for people who were deserving of special gifts from the TV program.

Jackson-Goodwin’s daughter, Jaida Jackson, said she nominated her mom and wrote to the show about how she was a wonderful mother who always dreamed of returning to college to finish her bachelor’s degree. She also wrote that her mother served the community well as a police officer and loved helping others.

Jackson-Goodwin didn’t win the gifts being offered, but the show was apparently impressed with the nomination. The show offered her two tickets to the show, and the mother and daughter flew out to Burbank, California, for a taping last week.

The episode they appeared in Monday included an interview with actress Melissa McCarthy, who was promoting a movie called “Life of the Party.”

DeGeneres said because the movie is about a woman going back to school, they should play the college party game beer pong but would need a student to play.

So DeGeneres called Jaida Jackson down from the audience . But because she’s only 19, they called her mom down from the audience to play. Jackson-Goodwin said she and her daughter had no idea they were going to be part of the show.

DeGeneres told Jackson-Goodwin that she would get some cash for each ball she tossed into red cups attached to an apron worn by McCarthy.

But apparently, the game was just a fun way to get the mom and daughter onto the stage for something bigger.

After the game, DeGeneres said she knew that Jackson-Goodwin had a dream to go back to college and had taken out thousands of dollars in loans to pay for her daughter’s education.

So DeGeneres presented her with a check from Shutterfly, an image publishing service, for $25,000. Then McCarthy said she was providing an additional $50,000, half from her new movie and half from her and her husband.

Jackson-Goodwin, who has served with the Lincoln Police Department for 16 years, said the money will enable her to fulfill her dream and pay off loans for her daughter’s education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“I’m extremely grateful,” she said.