Spelling Bee Was ‘Nerve-Racking,’ Winner Says

009 The words weren’t as difficult as Jamie Brown feared they might be, but the experience of competing in VHCC’s first annual Spelling Bee still was “nerve-racking” because all eyes in the Keyser-Aday Theatre were focused on her while she was at the microphone.

“I don’t even remember the word I won with,” she said. “That’s how nervous I was.”

Jamie was among several dozen students who participated in the VHCC Spelling Bee on January 29 in the hopes of winning bragging rights and a share of the cash that was available for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.  She ended the afternoon $250 dollars richer and glad she convinced a co-worker to fill in for her at Cracker Barrel.

“I found out about it through an email that was sent out,” she said. “I was supposed to work, but I got a friend to cover my shift. I figured I had the chance to make more money than I would at work that day.”

A resident of Sugar Grove, Jamie started a family soon after graduating from Marion High School. A few years ago while working at a job she didn’t like, she made the decision to enroll at VHCC. It was something she always wanted to do, she explained, but kept putting off.  She’ll graduate in May with an Associate of Arts & Sciences Degree in Education – Teacher Preparation, then it’s on to Radford University to complete her teaching degree.

“I really love the teachers here,” she said. “Every teacher here really cares. I hope that doesn’t change when I get to Radford.”

In addition to her full-time class load, Jamie works full time and is a single mother to a 12-year-old daughter and 11-year-old twins.

“My kids have seen me work really hard to find time for everything,” she said. “I think they’ve learned a few things from that. I bet they go to college right after high school.”

Rhonda Hubbard won $150 for her 2nd-place finish in the Spelling Bee, and Heather Jeffreys won $100 for finishing in 3rd place.