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Bed-Stuy First Grader Nabs First Place in Success Academy Spelling Bee

Contact: Pat Wechsler [email protected] 646-894-6407 The 23 best first-grade spellers from Success Academy, New York City’s highest-performing charter school network, competed yesterday to determine who among them was best speller in the world — or at least in the network. The answer? Xzavier Stokes from Success Academy Bedford-Stuyvesant 1, who walked away with first place after successfully spelling the word “exchange.” The second place winner was Marissa Ramsundar from Success Academy Rosedale, and third place went to Hayley Thomas from Success Academy Bensonhurst. The audience — composed of teachers, parents and siblings — cheered their scholars on to victory with colorful signs, but the placards weren’t the only distraction. With only four competitors left standing, the spelling bee took a dramatic turn when the school’s fire alarm was triggered. After a brief pause to ensure there was no real emergency, the final four contestants began spelling words over the blare of the alarm. Fortunately, the auditorium fell silent in time for the final two scholars to spell their last words. The spelling bee was held at Success Academy’s school in Hell’s Kitchen at 439 W. 49th St. About Success Academy Founded in 2006, Success Academy is a free public charter school network with the dual mission of building world-class public schools across New York City and advancing education reform across the country. Success Academy operates 32 schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Admission is open to all New York City families. Students are admitted by random lottery, held each April. Across the Success Academy network of K-12 schools, 76% of students are from low-income households; 8.5% are English Language Learners, and 12% are special needs students. About 94% of students are children of color. For more information about Success Academy, go to   On Twitter at: @SuccessCharters #InsideSuccess

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