CHESTERFIELD, Va.—WorldStrides, the nation’s largest accredited travel organization, surprised Salem Church Middle School student, Jayli Jimenez Garcia with airfare to represent her school at the National Spanish Spelling Bee in San Antonio, Texas. The event will take place July 13-16, 2017. Jimenez Garcia grabbed the top spot in her school. 140 students participated in the Bee.
This will be the first plane ride for the 14-year-old eighth grader, who humbly accepted the ticket from WorldStrides VP of Curriculum and Academics, Wendy Amato. “Cross-cultural competency, global readiness, multilingualism, self-confidence and readiness for challenge are outcomes of our travel programs, so you can see why it makes sense for WorldStrides to support an event like the Spanish Spelling Bee, too, said Amato. “Our focus on learning “beyond classroom walls” is about real-world experiences and non-traditional learning contexts. Jayli’s participation in the National Spanish Spelling Bee is a lovely example of blending travel and education.”
Jeremy Aldrich, Foreign Language and CTE Coordinator from Harrisonburg Public Schools coordinator for the Virginia Spanish Spelling Bee, was also on hand to present Jimenez Garcia with a first place trophy. “The Spanish Spelling Bee is a place for students to shine,” said Aldrich. “Whether students speak Spanish at home or are learning it for the first time, we know that learning a second language at an early age is key to developing high levels of proficiency and this is a great way to encourage children to hone their skills. I hope that the Bee will continue to grow year after year.”
Cheering her student along the way, Salem Church Middle School Spanish teacher Ellen Murnane is thrilled for Jimenez Garcia and plans to attend the Bee during her summer vacation. “Jayli is an amazing student and she is truly passionate about learning,” said Murnane. “Her Spanish is excellent and she is always looking to improve it. She is an absolute joy to be around!”
State-wide Spelling Bee coordinators include The Virginia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP-VA) and The Harrisonburg Education Foundation.
The National Spanish Spelling Bee, now in its seventh year, is open to students from grades three to eight. The competition aims to promote bilingualism and bi-literacy across the country.
About WorldStrides WorldStrides, headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., is the largest educational student travel company in the United States. The company was founded in 1967 to provide middle school travel programs to Washington, D.C., and has grown to provide educational programs for more than 400,000 students annually from more than 5,000 K12 schools and universities to over 100 countries around the world. Fully accredited as a school, WorldStrides offers free academic credit to students and professional development to educators. The company’s multiple divisions encompass group and individual travel. The program suite addresses learners’ developmental stages—elementary through post-graduate levels, plus the performing arts, sports and travel study abroad. For more information on WorldStrides, visit www.worldstrides.com.
Beth Campbell, Director of Content and Communications, WorldStrides