COLUMBIA — The South Carolina teen whose letter to Congress brought national attention to her dilapidated school will help choose the winners of a Wal-Mart writing contest for needy schools.

Wal-Mart officials said Tuesday that rising ninth-grader Ty'Sheoma Bethea of Dillon is one of five judges in the company's "Write to Change the Classroom" contest.

Twenty winning classrooms nationwide will receive $4,000 each for supplies. Each of those schools will get an additional $4,000. Parents, teachers and administrators can submit essays through July 24. Winners will be announced in August.

President Barack Obama brought attention to Dillon's J.V. Martin Junior High on Feb. 24 in his first address to Congress by reading Bethea's letter asking for help replacing her run-down school.