Spelling Bees are a popular and effective way to have students become better spellers. It allows them to practice spelling words they might not ordinarily use while mixing in some fun and competition. This the High Road Schools of the Maryland South Region decided to create a regional spelling be that would comprise of the top 2 spellers from each program in the elementary, middle, and high schools.
Early in planning for the process, our schools were dealt a blow with the tragic passing of one of the Regional Spelling Bee participants, Jalan White. Jalan was an 11th grade student at High Road Academy of Prince George’s County. He was an eager learner and literary craftsman. He not only had a refined vocabulary, but also was able to skillfully express his unique perspective using the most colorful collection of words. He was a shining light who was undeniably noticed by both students and staff. He participated in all events that allowed him to exhibit his creativity and talents. The spelling bee was one such event. He won 2nd place in the high school division of his local school spelling bee last year and confidently entered, once again, during this school year where he won 1st place. He wore a sense of accomplishment as he looked forward to competing in our very first regional spelling bee. Due to his untimely passing he is not able to be physically present with us, however his memory will continue to live on through this display of hard work and dedication. With this tribute, that is a reflection of what Jalan so beautifully embodied, we have chosen to officially declare this ceremony: The Jalan White Regional Spelling Bee. Through this annual event his light will continue to shine forth as his memory will be cherished for years to come.
In its inaugural year, the spelling bee delivered suspense and competition in each division (elementary, middle, high). The elementary spelling bee kicked it off with amazing display of spelling and ended with a several round face-off between Zye’ J (High Road Academy – Laurel) and Evert A. (High Road Lower School – Lanham). Eventually, Evert edged Zye’ in a battle of middle school words that had the audience captivated.
The middle and high schools spelling competitions continued to provide the audience with anticipation and amazement as our older student competitors exchanged correct spelling with correct spelling. Ultimately, Mariella M. (High Road Academy – Lanham) outlasted the competition to win the Middle School Spelling Bee. Dashawn R. (High Road Academy – Lanham) scored a victory over Kendra R. and Wesley R. (tied for second).
It was an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G display of academic skill and stellar sportsmanship both befitting the legacy of Jalen White