HOUSTON, Tx - The Heinen Theatre stage at Houston Community College was lined with young minds Saturday, as dozens of local students competed in the African American National Spelling Bee Championships.
Founder Robert Garner says the four-year-old event is an important education opportunity for African American youth in Houston.
"We feel like the African American kids are in peril, and I want to do whatever I can, by any means necessary, to make sure that they're educated," Garner said.
The young competitors represented a variety of schools in the area, and understood the importance of the spelling showcase.
"I wanted to participate because I felt like I could do a good job, and I wanted to win a scholarship," explained Tiana Smith.
Smith and her fellow participants said the preparation was worth their participation.
"At school, it was a process, practicing after school, and when we got here, we still had some more things to learn, so it was a long process," Smith said.
"I had to go over the words a lot of times, and write them down, because I heard when you write things down eight times, it processes through your head better," added Khamryn Tucker.