The Valdosta Daily Times
Valdosta Early College Academy (VECA) hosted its second annual Spelling Bee early Friday morning with 11 students battling for the coveted top three positions that will go on to compete in the system-wide spelling bee on Feb. 7.
The bee opened with a welcome from Principal Ingrid Hall, followed by Jessica LeFiles reading the spelling bee rules. Dr. Debbie Paine, Assistant Professor at Valdosta State University, called the words for the students. Patricia McCrae, a VECA PTO member and retired educator, Shirley Andrews, a VSU College of Education Professor, and Kay Harris, Managing Editor for the Valdosta Daily Times, were the judges for the bee.
Students competing were Roberto Perez, Willie Natson, Chantey Rose, Emily Martinez, Tiran Furman, Alaysha Taylor, Tia Alexander, Shakeem Morris, JaQuan Lewis, Tyler Smith and Brianna Breeden.
Students participated in a practice round to familiarize themselves with the process before beginning the actual bee. The first word in the competition, "frump", was given to Perez. Students went through eight full rounds, spelling words such as "software", "introverted" and "stubble" before the final two competitors were determined.
Perez and Morris were the last two students standing. They went back and forth, spelling words correctly for 10 rounds before the initial, unverified winner was determined to be Perez. After reviewing the tape, the judges found Morris' spelling of the word "seniority" to be unclear and the two boys were brought back up to continue the competition. After two more words, Morris was awarded first place, Perez received second and Taylor was the third place winner.
All three competitors will go on to compete in the system-wide spelling bee which will be held on Feb. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center.