Spelling Bee-rief

Twelve middle schoolers competed in a Spelling Bee on Friday, January 31, for the right to represent GCAA at the state-wide Spelling Bee. The event was organized by the middle school communication arts department and attended by the entire middle school.

Each middle school communication arts class, by time and by grade level, had first competed in the classroom, the winner being allowed to enter the school-wide Bee.

“It’s only our second year doing it, but the spirit of competition, once again, was incredible,” communication arts teacher and Spelling Bee organizer Michelle Oyola said. “This is proof that we should have been doing a Spelling Bee for a long time before this.”

The twelve contestants were sixth-graders Darius Berman-Carter, Rakyra Lewis, and Dionne Morris; seventh-graders Ke’Yannah Mitchell, Alex Yarbrough, Juna Yarbrough, Makyah Cotton, and Andrew Cunningham; and eighth-graders Kate Bittle, Y’lana Clower, and Avery Jackson.

“I’m always so impressed by the effort that students put in,” communication arts teacher and Bee organizer Erin Smith said. “I think in the beginning when we say ‘we’re going to do in-class spelling bees!’ kids are like ‘ah, no! I don’t want to do it!’ and are annoyed by it, but once we actually get started, I’m always so impressed by their effort and their desire to be successful. I’m also really impressed by how encouraging all the classmates are of one another, which I appreciate so much.”

The contestants took turns spelling words such as ‘Pakistan,’ ‘Barograph,’ and ‘Disembark.’ The winning contestant, Andrew Cunningham, first correctly spelled ‘Badminton’ and then the winning word, ‘guerilla,’ but described mixed emotions about his victory.

“I low-key wish I didn’t win. I didn’t want to win, but it’s fine. It’s chill,” Cunningham said. “I just don’t want to deal with the other spelling bees.”

Some got more into the spelling spirit than Cunningham. After the final word was spelled, social studies teacher Joseph Dickinson walked down to congratulate the spellers dressed as a giant bee.

“My whole family runs bees for Halloween, and I kept [the costume], and I was like ‘I’ll wear this today,’” Dickinson said.

At the end of the Bee, all the contestants gathered together to be recognized as a group and take a group picture.

“We’re proud to be a part of this amazing national program to give kids a chance to shine,” Oyola said.