Brooklyn Kids Shine In Success Academy Network Spelling Bees

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Jayden Steele certainly wasn’t intimidated by the bright lights on the big stage. Mary Asantewaa had more than enough sesquipedalian ammunition to win it all. And Makhi Williams was anything but furious by the end. For the three young Brooklynites, spelling those words — “intimidated” for Jayden, “ammunition” for Mary, and “furious” for Makhi — is what it took to be crowned Success Academy network spelling bee champions in competitions held over the last three weeks.

The borough’s trifecta represents another proud achievement and step forward for the high-performing charter network’s Brooklyn population. The Brooklyn scholars from SA Cobble Hill, SA Bergen Beach, SA Bed-Stuy Middle School were crowned spelling bee champions over thousands of competitors from across the city.

Jayden Steele smiles wide after earning the Grade 2 spelling bee title.
Jayden Steele smiles wide after earning the Grade 2 spelling bee title.

A second grader, Jayden won the Grade 2 competition held on his home turf at SA Cobble Hill. Meanwhile, Mary, a third grader at SA Bergen Beach, impressed an audience of family, friends, and teachers by winning the Grade 3-4 division in the event at SA Hell’s Kitchen. Makhi, a sixth grader at SA Bed-Stuy Middle School, claimed victory in the Grade 5-6 contest at SA Harlem North Central.

Mary shouts with joy after spelling “ammunition” to win the Grade 3-4 spelling bee.
Mary shouts with joy after spelling “ammunition” to win the Grade 3-4 spelling bee.

All three scholars participated in school-specific spelling bees before reaching the final round. There, more than 20 top scholars from Success Academy schools in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan competed for the title of network champion in each division.

Another Brooklyn native, Dashawn Martin of SA Bergen Beach, finished second in the Grade 2 spelling bee, while Dallas Banks of SA Bronx 2 took third place. Two Harlem kids, Baby Doumbouya of SA Harlem 1 and Derrell Haynes of SA Harlem 3 Upper, finished second and third respectively in the Grade 3-4 division. In the Grade 5-6 division, Rafee Ameen of SA Harlem East took second, while another Brooklyn scholar, SA Cobble Hill Middle School’s Manaf Raiyan, finished in third place.

In addition to the spelling bee, Success Academy also holds a network-wide math bee, which will take place in two weeks.

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