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Winterville Charter Academy Celebrates Spelling Bee Success

Twenty-one students participated in Winterville Charter Academy’s first spelling bee since COVID-19 cancelled the event the past two years. To celebrate, the school invited special judges and a pronouncer from the community to participate.

Students participating in spelling bee. 
“I definitely believe there was both excitement and nervousness from all of the students participating in the spelling bee,” Winterville Upper Elementary Dean Laura Lopez said. “A few of them, each time they came up to the microphone would whisper to me ‘I am so nervous.’ The weeks leading up to the competition students were asking me lots of really great questions, walking around with their study lists and really using perseverance as they prepared for the big event.”

Spelling bee judges sitting at a table. 
East Carolina University professor Richard Allsbrook was recruited to be the pronouncer, a key role in the spelling bee. Allsbrook read each word clearly for all students and judges to hear. Three judges made sure all rules were followed and words were spelled correctly: Greenville, N.C. Mayor P.J. Connelly, Assistant Clerk of Superior Court Nancy Ray, and Greenville attorney Stephanie Murad. All were recruited by Winterville Admissions Representative Elizabeth Nunez.

Spelling bee judges sitting at a table. 
“Overall, the judges and pronouncer seemed to really enjoy the experience and were super diligent when monitoring the spelling the students provided,” Lopez said. Ms. Nunez helped secure them. It was also such a pleasure to see the encouragement that they and the other family members provided to the students before, during and after.”

Spelling bee judges standing next to the winners.Winterville Spelling Bee winner Seventh-grader Jeremiah Makoko and second-place finisher fourth-grader Lelah Morris pose with judges Stephanie Murad-Greenville Attorney, P.J. Connelly-Greenville Mayor, pronouncer Richard Allsbrook-East Carolina University professor, and judge Nancy Ray-Assistant Clerk of Superior court.
Seventh-grader Jeremiah Makoko finished in first place and will advance to the regional competition, while fourth-grader Lelah Morris finished in second place. The event lasted 26 rounds and more than 229 words were spelled correctly by the 21 students. The winning word was “traditional.”

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About Winterville Charter Academy
Winterville Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Winterville, North Carolina, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 99 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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