May 28, 2009

Shawn Johnson set for ‘Bee’ appearance

U.S. Olympic gymnast and current Dancing with the Stars champion Shawn Johnson is set to appear on The 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee, ABC announced.

Johnson's former junior high school teacher, Mary Brooks, is the Bee's head judge, the network noted.

The event, which is to take place in Washington, is slated to air on ABC Thursday night.

DWTS host Tom Bergeron has signed on to preside over the Bee. Johnson is expected to join him at the broadcast desk at some point during the competition and she will also be the keynote speaker at an awards banquet for the spellers to be held Friday night, ABC said.

Nearly 300 champion spellers, ranging in age from 9 to 15, will be competing this year for the National Spelling Bee Championship.

Spellers participating in the national competition qualify by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities.

The Bee features top spellers from across the United States, as well as competitors from Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand, Ghana, South Korea, students from U.S. Defense and State Department schools in Europe and students from American and international schools in China.