West Manor Elementary fifth-grader becomes a woman of letters

Sydney Ragland, a fifth-grader from West Manor Elementary, fulfilled her goal by being one of the first to win both her school and district spelling bee. Ragland has participated in spelling bees since she was in the third grade, yet wasn’t able to pull out a victory — until now. (Check out the AJC article here.)

All of those years of defeat made Ragland more determined to win her fifth grade spelling bee. She decided that her study process had to intensify to enable her to defeat her school competition. Ragland’s hard work paid off by beating her school and district competition.

“It felt great [to win the competition]. I was so astonished and I couldn’t move,” said Ragland. “I was very excited for myself and school and teachers.”

Ragland is now preparing for the regional spelling bee on Feb. 26. Her study routine includes studying a list of words provided to her; she studies 150 words a night. Her friends and mother help her study and go over the spelling bee words assuring her that she has memorized them to the best of her ability.

“I am very excited and nervous, I hope I go to nationals,” said Ragland.

If she wins or qualifies in the regional competition, she will advance to state. If she wins state, then she will go to Scripps and represent Georiga.

She’s not the only student at West Manor to receive an honorable award; fifth-grader Kya Jones was awarded third place in two essay competitions.

Jones entered in the “I Have a Dream” and the “Freedom Sisters” essay contest. The Freedom Sisters contest, sponsored by the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, featured 102 entrees. Jones received a $1,000 savings bond and a set of books was given to the school on all the Freedom Sisters.

“I was so excited to get third place. My teacher Mrs. Ferguson helped me a lot with my essays.” said Jones. “It was excellent because it would be a great influence on the school and also on myself. “

Jones plans on entering more essay contests and to keep a journal to improve her writing skills.

Principal Cheryl Twyman is proud of her students’ success and explains that this is a result from their high expectations.

“We are extremely proud of these two exceptional students and we would expect nothing less from our students,” Twyman said. “Our teachers hold high expectations for our students to meet.”

According to Twyman, at West Manor they have a quite kept secret of the high quality of competition and her staff makes sure that the students are able to compete in the highest level of competitions.

Twyman plans on promoting spelling bees for younger children and says that writing has always been a top priority in the classroom.

“There is so much emphasis put on testing at such young age,” said Twyman. “But we want to make sure our students excel at whatever they put their mind to.”

4 thoughts on “West Manor Elementary fifth-grader becomes a woman of letters

Add yours

  1. Is the fourth word in the last paragragh one of the spelling words?
    I’m just asking …

  2. Sydney did an excellent job! and she was so at ease.
    Hats off to the West Manor Team!

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