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Ford Takes Top Honors at St. Croix Spelling Bee

Kayla Ford is all smiles after taking first in the St. Croix District Spelling Bee.Kayla Ford metamorphosed into a winner Friday as she correctly spelled “metamorphosis” in the 21st and final round of the two-hour St. Croix District Spelling Bee.

“We are delighted,” said Linda George, principal at Church of God Holiness School in Peter’s Rest where Ford is in the eighth grade. “We were confident Kayla could do it.” George said she told her to just remember, “I can do it.”

The bee was held in the Woodson Junior High School auditorium which was decorated with black and yellow balloons and large construction-paper bees. The students were wearing yellow 2010 spelling bee shirts over school uniforms.

Ford, who appeared cool, calm and confident as the top speller on St. Croix, said she feels good to be on top.

“I’m so happy to be in the top six for the second time,” Ford said with a big grin.

Ford and the other five finishers will represent the St. Croix District going up against the six top St. Thomas and St. John spellers in the 37th annual territory 2010 Spelling Bee Championship March 5 at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel in St. Thomas.

Raheem Knight, last year’s Territory Champion, came in second after going head-to-head with Ford for seven rounds. Knight, a seventh grader from Elena Christian Junior High School who went to Washington D.C. last year, misspelled “issei.” The third-place finisher was Chasen Richards, a 14 year -old student at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She went down in round 13, misspelling “ampere.”

The other top finishers were Ameer Donaie, IQRA Academy; Acassia Ferguson, Alexander Henderson Elementary School; and Kenisha Webbe, from Evelyn Williams Elementary School. Twenty-two students from private and public schools took part in the bee.

“This is such a great moment,” said Ford’s proud Mother, Sharon Benjamin. “She was not nervous; she was prepared with consistent studying.”

Cheryl Wheellocks, DOE director of Curriculum Assessment Technology (CAT), said in opening remarks that good spellers are good listeners – better readers and better writers.

“Words serve as an important tool in good communication,” Wheellocks said. “Words are the building block of knowledge.”

Sponsors of the spelling bee are the V.I. Department of Education, V.I. Daily News, participating schools, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Inc., Pearson Caribbean and Diane Russell Esq.

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