Fifth grader, Showers team win spelling bee, brain bowl

It was smiles all around at the 5th Grade Spelling Bee award ceremony. From left are, Rodney J. Long, president of the King Commission; Charles Jones, spelling bee winner; Matthew Wilson, runner-up; contestants Isiah Atkins and Jacobi King, and Cynthia Mingo, event coordinator.

Aida Mallard/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 8:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 8:29 p.m.

Charles Jones, a fifth-grader at Idylwild Elementary School, bested three other contestants to win the spelling bee at the King Celebration annual Black History and Cultural Brain Bowl and 5th Grade Spelling Bee.

In the cultural brain bowl, Showers of Blessings Harvest Center Inc. received its second consecutive win in a close match against the Mount Olive AME Church Master Minds. The match ended with a judge's decision because a two-point lead couldn't be reached after several sudden death bouts. Showers of Blessings won $500 and Mount Olive AME $300.

More than 100 men, women and children braved extremely cold weather to attend the event held last Thursday at the King Center.

Cynthia Mingo, event organizer, explained the rules and reminded the audience not to participate in the contests. Juliun Kinsey, a student at Santa Fe College, served as master of ceremonies.

The Flossie B. McLendon Drill Team presented the colors, and Rodney J. Long, president of the King Commission, delivered the greetings. Entertainment was provided by the Eastside High School Gospel Choir. The prayer was offered by the Rev. Michelle Barton, pastor of Mount Pisgah AME Church in Archer.

After placing second in last year's spelling bee, Charles said he was determined to win this year. "I studied hard every day," said Charles, who represented the Gainesville Housing Authority. Matthew Wilson, who earned second place, represented Mt. Pisgah AME Church. Other contestants included Isaiah Atkins, who represented Mt. Pisgah AME Church, and Jacobi King, who represented the Gainesville Housing Authority.

"It's wonderful to see young black males participating," said Long. "You're all winners."

Fred Williams, director of the Boys and Girls Club at Woodland Park, said Charles is a hard worker who tutors younger children in their after-school program. The Showers of Blessings team included Olexis Ellis, Jermanica Wilson, Ariel Ward, Raneisha Boston and Sequinta McCreary. The coach was Natalie Williams-King and Kunitha Melecio served as the assistant coach.

Olexis said they were worried about playing against Mount Olive AME, "but we played well," Olexis said.

Coached by Dr. G.W. Mingo, the Mount Olive AME team included Charmain Akins, Natalie Hill, Brandon Morgan, Damarcus Causey, Danielle Brown and Briana Parker. Other cultural bowl teams that participated included Precious Pearls and Freed Minds.

"We did the best we could," Brandon said.

Coached by Tova Peterson, the Precious Pearls team included Nontombi Levine, Niya Harris, Gabrielle Howard, Victoria Montgomery, Kamille Wade, Ana Nicholas and Lindsey Welcome.

The Freed Minds team, coached by B. Hickmon, included Tabitha Hickmon, Ashley Hickmon, Tyler Parker, Taylor Parker, Shuceria Singleton, Byers Hickmon Jr. and Wallace Mazon.

Participants received King Celebration T-shirts, the winners received trophies and everyone else received certificates.

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