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Bright Future: ACCS student knows how to sound out success

Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Adams County Christian School’s fourth grader student Brooke Collier, 9, won the MAIS District Spelling Bee at Trinity Episcopal Day School March 6 and will be competing in the state spelling bee in Jackson April 15.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Adams County Christian School’s fourth grader student Brooke Collier, 9, won the MAIS District Spelling Bee at Trinity Episcopal Day School March 6 and will be competing in the state spelling bee in Jackson April 15.

NATCHEZ — Each word Brooke Collier attempts to spell — whether in competition or in the classroom — always begins with the fourth grader sounding out each letter in her head.

Once the Adams County Christian School student has sounded out how she believes the word is spelled, Brooke doesn’t hesitate to begin spelling with the utmost confidence.

“I’m not a visual person, so I just sound it out, and most of the time I get it right,” Brooke, 9, said. “Other times, if I’ve seen the word a lot before I don’t need to sound it out, I can just spell it.”

The method proved successful twice before, once at a school-wide spelling bee and again at the MAIS district spelling bee, where Brooke won first place in her age group.

Now, Brooke is hoping her strategy will work one more time as she heads to the statewide spelling bee in Jackson Monday.

Brooke will be competing against nearly 30 students from across the state in her age group for a chance to reign supreme over Mississippi and have an opportunity to advance to the nationwide competition in Washington, D.C.

“I was really happy to find out I was going to state, but it made me even happier when I found out you have a chance to go to Washington if you win,” Brooke said. “I’ve never been, but I want to go see the White House.”

The road to the statewide spelling bee for Brooke was filled with simple and complex words she said helped her prepare for the upcoming competition.

The school spelling bee put Brooke up against eight of her classmates, which was eventually narrowed to two students.

When the other student misspelled “ballot,” Brooke used her method to correctly spell the word and was given another word for a chance to win.

“They gave me ‘garage,’ so I got lucky on that one because it’s an easy one,” Brooke said. “I’ve seen that one a lot, so I didn’t even have to sound it out.”

Weeks later, Brooke wound up at Trinity Episcopal Day School for the district competition and again found herself in the final round of spelling.

Brooke didn’t recall the last two words she had to spell in that competition, but did remember the feeling of winning.

“I went crazy,” Brooke said, with a smile. “I didn’t jump up and down or scream or anything because I was in front of a lot of people, but I was just excited in my head.”

The victory didn’t come as a surprise to her teacher, Michelle Joseph, who said Brooke is always a star student in the classroom.

“Brooke is an ‘A’ student and is just always at the top of her class,” Joseph said. “When we got the news she won, I was just honestly delighted for her.”

As the statewide competition nears, Brooke said she’s continuing to practice with a long list of words she and her grandparents, Robert and Rosie Sullivan, go over each day.

“She’ll call them out to me, and I’ll write them on my white board,” Brooke said. “After a while though, she doesn’t let me use the white board because you can’t use it when you’re up on the stage.

“I’m exited and nervous at the same time.”

Brooke is the daughter of Charmaine Collier and Cameron Collier.