When co-host Vanna White tested positive for COVID-19 before Wheel of Fortune shot their “Teachers Week” episodes in July, the hit game show called on a CSUDH alumna to fill in—2023 California Teacher of the Year Bridgette Donald-Blue.
“I’m not sure how I was selected, but I was very excited to receive the call,” says Donald-Blue, who currently serves as a K-3 Math Intervention Teacher at Coliseum Street Elementary in downtown L.A. “I am very honored to have had this incredible opportunity and am extremely grateful.”
Viewers of the Monday, Oct. 2 episode were surprised to see long-time host Pat Sajak walk out by himself, rather than accompanied by White. He explained the situation, then introduced Donald-Blue. “It’s Teachers Week, and so we have a teacher here who is going to handle the puzzle board duties!”
The episodes were filmed during the last week of July and are airing during the first week of October in order to coincide with World Teachers Day on Thursday, Oct. 5. Donald-Blue served as Vanna’s “substitute” for the entire week of five episodes.
“It was an amazing experience,” says Donald-Blue. “It was such a complete departure from what I do in the classroom! The Wheel of Fortune people are extremely nice. They were so supportive and helped me tremendously. I enjoyed the day. It was also a great opportunity to champion the cause of education and the work that teachers do every day.”
Wheel of Fortune’s “Teachers Week” episodes air Monday, Oct. 2 through Friday, Oct. 6. Check your local listings for more information.