Billingsley Elementary School witnessed history as Azeez Akindele, a third-grader, emerged as the champion of the school’s first-ever Spelling Bee. Akindele’s remarkable spelling skills and unwavering determination led him to victory in a gripping contest that lasted for 23 rounds. The event, which took place at Billingsley Elementary School, garnered excitement and support from students, teachers, and families alike.

Clad in a shirt featuring a sunglasses-wearing bulldog riding a skateboard, Azeez Akindele sealed his triumph by accurately spelling the word “infamous” in the decisive round. Marrkan Girum, a fifth-grade student who secured second place, wholeheartedly applauded Akindele’s achievement and congratulated him with a gracious and celebratory handshake. Suravi Shrestha, a fourth-grade student, claimed the third spot in the highly competitive Bee. As a testament to their impressive performance, the top three finishers were awarded trophies, while all 30 participating students received Spelling Bee medallions.

Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor expressed her gratitude to the students for their enthusiastic participation and lauded their exceptional skills and courage. The Spelling Bee presented an opportunity for students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades to showcase their reading and writing prowess. Teachers nominated ten students per grade, selecting those with strong abilities in literacy. However, students had the option to decline the invitation if they preferred not to participate.

The event was held in the presence of parents and family members, who eagerly cheered for the young spellers. Additionally, the contest was livestreamed on YouTube, allowing students in Billingsley classrooms to follow along and engage in the excitement from afar.

Principal Robinson-Taylor, along with Meighan Hungerford, the director of elementary education for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS), assumed the roles of pronouncers for the Bee. Their carefully articulated words challenged the contestants, who demonstrated their mastery over vocabulary by tackling words such as “empower,” “humility,” “vivacious,” and “endure.” The panel of judges comprised Melinda Jacowski, a reading resource teacher, Layla Harrison, a first-grade teacher, and Ashley Mangalindan, a math interventionist instructional assistant. Ensuring a seamless livestream experience was music teacher Bill Cusack, while school librarian Kaprena Camp provided valuable assistance in organizing the Spelling Bee.

The success of Billingsley Elementary School’s inaugural Spelling Bee not only celebrated the remarkable talents of its students but also highlighted the school’s commitment to fostering academic excellence and providing opportunities for growth. Azeez Akindele’s achievement will be remembered as a shining example of determination, perseverance, and intellectual prowess for years to come. As the champion, Akindele has etched his name in the annals of Billingsley Elementary School’s history, inspiring future generations to strive for greatness in academic pursuits.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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