Bay Shore graduate to compete on ‘Survivor’

Will Soda Thompson outwit, outplay, and outlast?


A new season of the iconic television series “Survivor” will feature former Bay Shore resident, Sodasia “Soda” Thompson. Watch along as Thompson is marooned on a Fiji island with 18 other castaways, as they compete for the million-dollar grand prize and title of sole survivor! The two-hour season premiere will be held on CBS on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m.

In her “Survivor” introduction video, 27-year-old Thompson admits to having had a tumultuous childhood while growing up in Bay Shore. Both her father and biological mother struggled with addiction, so she grew up with her aunt, who she was told was her mother. Thompson also shared that her father “never even knew I existed.”

After graduating from Bay Shore High School in 2014, Thompson embraced education as a means to escape dysfunction, become successful, and find herself.

“I fell into loving education and going to school pretty early. Success was like my way out of all of the dysfunction,” explained Thompson. “I literally dug a trench, found myself, put her on one shoulder, and climbed up with one hand, like—you are getting out of this ditch.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, Thompson studied vocal jazz at Hofstra University before graduating from SUNY Purchase. She has since relocated to Lake Hopatcong, N.J., where she works as a special education teacher at the Banyan School. Thompson also gushed that she has been married to her husband, the love of her life, for almost six years.

Not your average reality competition show, “Survivor” stands out above the rest. In addition to the entertaining blindsides, shifting alliances, moral dilemmas, and intense physical competitions, “Survivor” has a unique element of tender humanity, as castaways push themselves to the limit and find they can endure and accomplish so much more than they had thought possible.

The show has garnered a cult following of devoted fans that keep coming back for more. This upcoming season will be the 46th in the Emmy-nominated show’s history.

With the game requiring equal parts physical strength, quick wit, charisma, and pure determination, the tropical tide is constantly turning as castaways vie for power… so does Thompson have what it takes to win?

According to her “Survivor” introduction video, she does.

“I think I have what it takes because the thing about trauma is, it leaves you resilient. I didn’t even know who my parents were and here I am today,” Thompson said. “If that does not say ‘survivor’ written all over it, I do not know what does.”

Tune into the series premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m., to support a native Long Islander and follow Thompson’s journey as she begins the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance. 


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