The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta Early College Academy, under the auspices of the Valdosta City School system, has seen many firsts in just a few years, according to VECA Principal Ingrid Hall.
In keeping with their groundbreaking work at the academy, which prepares students that may not be successful in a traditional classroom setting for college by their 11th grade year, the school held its First Annual Spelling Bee on Thursday.
A partnership from its inception just a few short years ago with Valdosta State University, students and professors from VSU assist VECA in numerous ways. On Thursday, Dr. Sheryl Dasinger of VSU’s College of Education served as the word caller for the students.
Coordinated by teacher Jessica LeFiles, the spelling bee welcomed 12 middle school age children to the competition. All were nervous, excited and at times overwhelmed by the words they were asked to spell, all part of the official word list provided to schools for school-level spelling bees. Other lists are generated for use at the district, state and national levels.
This reporter served as a judge for the event, along with Patricia McCrae, a VECA parent, PTO member, and retired teacher, and Dr. Shirley Andrews of VSU’s College of Education. The spelling bee was attended by Superintendent Dr. Bill Cason along with parents and grandparents of the children participating.
At the end of several rounds, Annalise Wojcik was victorious, winning first place; Michael Williams received second place and Davonte Jones won third place.
All students who participated received certificates of appreciation from Hall, which included, in addition to the top three, Tiran Furman, Ayanna Bacon, Marianna Johnson, Crystal Patel, Shakeem Morris, Alba Ramirez, Mateo Murphy, Kaniya Crawford, and Austin Blanton.