Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Virgin Islands Department of Education Intermediate Spelling Bees returned to in-person competition Thursday.
Shadya Coureur, an eighth-grader at St. Croix’s Free Will Baptist Christian School, and Naitik Jhanwar, a seventh-grader at All Saints Cathedral School on St. Thomas, are winners of the 2022 St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John District Spelling Bees, respectively.
Coureur emerged as St. Croix’s top speller after correctly spelling “complacency” in Round 15 and Jhanwar became St. Thomas-St. John’s top speller after correctly spelling “conurbation” in Round 7, according to a release from the Department of Education.
The champions, along with the five other top spellers in the two districts, will compete in the Territorial Spelling Bee on March 24 on St. Croix.
St. Croix Top Six: Shadya Coureur, Free Will Baptist Christian School; Jae’Quan Greaux, John H. Woodson Jr. High School; Kayden Theodore, Alfredo Andrews Elementary School; D’Nya Harvey, St. Croix Christian Academy; Madison Davis, Church of God Holiness Academy; and Khamron L. Eugene, Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 School.
St. Thomas-St. John District Top Six: Naitik Jhanwar, All Saints Cathedral School; Isabel Ethen, Antilles School; Bryden Tano, Addelita Cancryn Intermediate/Jr. High School; De’Andre Mills, Yvonne E. Milliner-Bowsky Elementary School; Micah Dominique, New Testament Academy; and Samuel De La Rosa, Joseph Gomez Elementary School.
English Language Arts Coordinators Paulina Croskey, St. Croix, and Kendra Vicars, St. Thomas-St. John, organized the district spelling competitions, which were held at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School gymnasium and the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School auditorium.
The academic competitions were conducted virtually over the last two years. While they were conducted in-person this year, they were by invitation only and were not open to the public.
In a release from the Education Department, organizers expressed their excitement at the in-person return of the spelling competitions.
“I am anxious and excited to finally get the opportunity to be in the presence of students and to get to witness them demonstrating their endurance and resilience,” said Vicars. “This marks the beginning of a ‘new normal’ and I am thrilled to see campuses coming alive and being able to witness students, teachers and coaches pushing through and adjusting. The Spelling Bee, as well as other rigorous academic activities, will remind students that they can persevere through life’s challenges. These are the great lessons of life, and I am happy to be one of the persons charged with facilitating their greatness.”
Croskey offered similar sentiments.
“It gives us great pleasure to once again have an opportunity to conduct an in-person Spelling Bee,” she said. “The excitement is in the air! Our Spelling Bee coaches’ and spellers’ perseverance, commitment, and preparation will all come to fruition on Thursday. Their hard work will finally be witnessed by everyone present at the Bee. Our spellers’ knowledge of word usage, etymology, definition, and of course spelling will elevate the competition into a top-notch event.”
On St. Croix, 12 top spellers from the district’s schools competed: Jae’Quan Greaux, John H. Woodson Junior High, 8th grade; Kaden Concepcion, Juanita Gardine K-8 School, 8th grade; DaMione Christopher, Ricardo Richards Elementary School, 6th grade; Kayden Theodore, Alfredo Andrews Elementary School, 6th grade; M’Kai Asani Encarnacion, Pearl B. Larsen PreK-8 School, 6th grade; Shadya Coureur, Free Will Baptist Christian School, 8th grade; Nyan Bedminster, Good Hope Country Day School, 5th grade; Caiden Rivera, St. Patrick’s Catholic School, 8th grade; Makayla Walcott, Lew Muckle Elementary School, 6th grade; D’Nya Harvey, St. Croix Christian Academy, 6th grade; Khamron L. Eugene, Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 School, 4th grade; Madison X. Davis, Church of God Holiness Academy, 4th grade.
On St. Thomas-St. John, seven top spellers from the district’s schools were in competition Thursday: Micah Dominique, New Testament Academy Inc., 12 years old, 7th grade; Samuel De La Rosa Luciano, Joseph Gomez Elementary School, 10, 5th grade; Ja’Hejah Joseph, Ulla F. Muller Elementary School, 10, 5th grade; Isabel Ethen, Antilles School, 14, 8th grade; Naitik Jhanwar, All Saints Cathedral School, 11, 7th grade; Kahlil Tano, Addelita Cancryn Intermediate/Junior High School, 11, 6th grade; and De’Andre Mills, Yvonne E. M. Bowsky Elementary School, 9, 4thgrade.
St.Croix intermediate spelling bee competitors:
St. Thomas/St. John intermediate spelling bee competitors: