Donovan Rolle: Our Champion Speller

6/4/2013, 8:48 a.m.

Donovan Rolle, 13, represented The Washington Informer as the District of Columbia participant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held last week at the National Harbor in Maryland. Donovan’s an outstanding eighth grader who attends Howard University Middle School for Math and Science in Northwest and last week he was Speller Number 35 out of 281 students from around the world.

We are proud of every student who has represented the District over the past 31 year’s since the Informer became a sponsor. They all were great spellers and extraordinary students in every way. But, we are especially proud of Donovan whose academic achievements are examples of his hard work and determination. More importantly, Donovan is just a great kid with a kind spirit and a thirst for knowledge. He also has a great mother, attorney Stenise Sanders, who considers it no great sacrifice to support her son in every way.

We are also grateful for Donovan’s fans who told us they were rooting for him from their couches all across the region. In the end, Donovan didn’t walk away with the top honors, but we know he did his best.

What Washington Informer founder and publisher Dr. Calvin W. Rolark sought to address when he agreed to allow his newspaper to become a sponsor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee 31 years ago, became evident last week. While the competition is diverse in many ways, Donovan was only one of three African-American males to grace the stage as a spelling bee competitor. Rolark hoped that his newspaper would add to the diversity of the bee by promoting spelling in schools where the competition begins and that it would encourage more African-American girls and boys to participate. We are committed to the spelling bee and look forward to seeing who will represent the District next year.