The Virgin Islands Department of Education St. Thomas – St. John District hosted its annual Intermediate Spelling Bee on Friday, February 10 at the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School auditorium. Gladys Abraham Elementary 6th grader Joshua Morgan earned the title of 2017 district champion with the correct spelling of the word “dossier,” following 26 rounds of intense competition. Lockhart Elementary 6th grader Waniya Baig and BCB 7th grader V’Andre Rochester took first and second place, respectively.
Language Arts Coordinator and District Spelling Bee facilitator Jessica John-Baptiste opened the event by congratulating the students, their parents and coaches. Insular Superintendent Dionne Wells-Hedrington welcomed attendees and offered inspirational words to the competitors. Allowing the students to stand and shake off their nervousness, Mrs. Wells-Hedrington said, “You all are already winners. This is indeed a testimony to each and every one of you and your dedication and commitment, and even your bravery to be here doing this today.”
Following the introduction of Spelling Bee officials, the spellers took to the mic to introduce themselves and get comfortable with being on stage, followed by the reading of the rules.
The competition got underway and lasted just over an hour. Nineteen spellers representing public, private and parochial schools competed and the top six students advanced to the Territorial Spelling Bee.
All Spelling Bee participants received a Bluetooth speaker, certificate of achievement and trophies, and a goody bag filled with books, a flash drive, pens and pencils. The first and second place winners also took home a placement trophy, a tablet equipped with a protective case, and $75 cash for first place and $50 cash for second. The winner was awarded a laptop that doubles as a tablet, a championship trophy and $100 cash.
Following his win, Joshua expressed how happy he was in his victory. “I am more than happy. Last year I was in the top six I said I would win this year and I did,” said Joshua. First place runner up Wanya Baig congratulated Joshua and anticipates the territorial competition. “I’m looking forward to going to St. Croix and competing again.” Said Waniya.
Senators Janette Millin-Young and Tregenza Roach attended the event and gave congratulatory remarks to Spelling Bee participants during the awards ceremony. Representatives from the offices of senators Marvin Blyden and Jean Forde were also in attendance. Deputy Superintendents Raquel Berry-Benjamin and Michael Harrigan and American Federation of Teachers Local 1825 President Avery Lewis also attended the 2017 Intermediate District Spelling Bee. The National Anthem was sung by Charlotte Amalie High School’s music ensemble Ripples on the Lake and the Virgin Islands March was sung by Eudora Kean’s ensemble Rays of Light.
The Territorial Spelling Bee, which will feature the top spellers from both the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John districts, will take place at 10 a.m. on March 22, 2017 at the John H. Woodson Jr. High School on St. Croix.
The top six finalists that will compete in the Territorial Spelling Bee from the St. Thomas – St. John district are Joshua Morgan of Gladys Abraham, Waniya Baig of Lockhart Elementary, V’Andre Rochester of Bertha C. Boschulte, Mera Foster of Gifft Hill, Krishiv Amarnan of All Saints Cathedral and Adien Glasford of Weslyan Academy.
Charlotte Amalie High School's Ripples on the Lake perform the Star Spangled Banner.
Ivanna Eudora Kean's Rays of Light performs the Virgin Islands March.
2017 St. Thomas - St. John district in-school winners.
Judges and pronouncers table.
Maleah Davis of Ulla F. Muller Elementary.
Jonica Cardin of Seventh Day Adventist School.
Joshua Morgan of Gladys Abraham.
Joshua Morgan with Coach Loretta Silcott.
District Spelling Bee facilitator Jessica John Baptiste.
V'Andre Rochester of Bertha C. Boschulte.
Waniya Baig and family.
Deputy Superintendent Michael Harrigan congratulates Joshua Morgan on winning the Spelling Bee.
Insular Superintendent gives words of inspiration before the start of the spelling bee.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 5th runner up Adien Glasford of Weslyan Academy.
Senator Roach greets Superintendent Wells - Hedrington while Senator Millin Young gives congratulatory remarks.
Senators Janette Millin Young and Tregenza Roach and their staff enjoy the STTJ District Intermediate Spelling Bee.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 3rd runner up Mera Foster of Gifft Hill.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 4th runner up Krishiv Amarnan of All Saints Cathedral.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 2nd runner up V'Andre Rochester of Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 1st runner up Waniya Baig of Lockhart Elementary.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with the top six finalists that will travel to St. Croix and compete in the Territorial Spelling Bee.
Top three finalists battle it out.
St. Thomas - St. John superintendents with 2017 STTJ District Intermediate Spelling Bee winner Joshua Morgan.