South LA teacher temporarily fills in for Vanna White on 'Wheel of Fortune'

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Sunday, October 8, 2023
South LA teacher shares what it's like filling in for Vanna White
Bridgette Donald-Blue, the "2023 California Teacher of the Year," filled in for Vanna White on 'Wheel of Fortune' when White had COVID-19.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "Wheel of Fortune" watchers have been noticing a major absence from the game show this week - Vanna White has been missing, and now we know why.

The TV mainstay had to miss a day of filming in August, when several episodes of the show were recorded, because she had COVID-19.

But "Wheel" was able to find a fitting replacement for "Teachers Week" -- Bridgette Donald-Blue, the "2023 California Teacher of the Year."

Donald-Blue, who has been an educator for three decades, teaches at Coliseum Street Elementary in South Los Angeles.

"Wheel of Fortune" co-host Vanna White extended her contract for two more years as the game show says goodbye to longtime host Pat Sajak this season.

Math may be her subject, but she proved to be a natural with words when she took to the puzzle board.

"When I got the call to be a part of 'Wheel of Fortune' for Teachers Week, I was tremendously excited," Donald-Blue said. "It was a great opportunity to champion the cause of education, the work that teachers do every day."

As California Teacher of the Year, she wants to teach a special lesson to students across the world.

"A lot of times, they're in their own way, in terms of being successful, so I want them to take risks and to understand that they are so intelligent and more capable than they realize," said Donald-Blue.

Now, as she balances the classroom and her newfound taste of Hollywood, Donald-Blue is simply enjoying the ride.

"I remember watching 'Wheel of Fortune' with my great grandmother, back when the contestants used to shop for prizes," she said. "To have an opportunity to see how the show is put together, and to be at the puzzle board, that was just amazing.

White, who has only missed the show three times in the past 41 years, is expected to return on air next week.