Two Brothers Reign Supreme at the 2017 African American National Spelling Bee Championships

ABOVE: (Front l to r) 3rd place winner-Exodus Broussard; 2nd place winner-Joseph Walker; and 1st place winner-Joshua Walker. Joshua and Joseph are brothers. (Back, pictured with winners from l to r) Zakia Simmons, Debbie Dillard, AANSBC Executive Director Jacqueline Terrell, community supporters from Omega Psi Phi (Rho Beta Beta chapter), Dr. Lloyd Jarmon, Dr. Kia Johnson and Keith Branch.

This past Saturday, February 18, a new champion was crowned at the 2017 African American National Spelling Bee Championships in Houston, Texas, and there was no shortage of excitement as two brothers battled it out for first place.

The African American National Spelling Bee Championships (AANSBC), affectionately known as (“The Bee”), was once again held at the Heinen Theater at the Houston Community College, Central Campus, and the final two rounds came down to 7th grader Joshua Walker from Crosby Middle School and his eighth-grade older brother Joseph Walker, also from Crosby Middle School. Both brothers had to battle it out for the coveted prize, not just with one another, but with tons of other young and talented African American 6th-8th grade spellers from Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Galveston counties who came together to compete.

After a very challenging competition, the winner of the 2017 AANSBC was Joshua Walker. The winning word was “duplicity,” and with the first-place win, Joshua claimed the first-place prize of a $1,000 scholarship. Coming in second-place, and receiving a $500 scholarship, was his brother Joseph, and the third-place winner and recipient of a $250 scholarship was Exodus Broussard, a 7th-grade student from Black Middle School.

The 2017 sponsors for “The Bee” included Houston Community College; Power Finance Texas; Comerica Bank; H-E-B; Houston Forward Times; The Hadi Law Firm; Attorney Richard Raymond; Silverlake Church; Pappas Restaurants; Big Star Ford; Lone Star Auto Team, LLC; Ameriprise Financial; The Digital Broadcasting Network; Hodges Communications Group; Dr. Lloyd Jarmon, All God’s Creatures Veterinary Care; Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, HCC Trustee, District IV; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; Alan Rosen, Harris County Constable Precinct 1; 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston; Omega Psi Phi (Rho Beta Beta chapter); World Youth Foundation and many more community organizations and groups.

The AANSBC is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2010 by Houston businessman Robert Garner. Jacqueline Terrell is Executive Director. The mission of the organization is to train students in grades 6-8 in decoding and spelling techniques to enable them to expand their literacy skills and knowledge, improve language development and increase reading and writing levels.

Terrell served as the Master of Ceremonies; Dr. Kia Johnson, University of Houston was the pronouncer; and Zakia Simmons, Keith Branch and Debbie Dillard served as the competition judges.

The other 2017 AANSBC contestants were:

Zoe Chatri 8th grade, Black Middle School; Nicole Davis 7th grade, YES Prep Southside; Kenessa Douglas 7th grade, YES Prep Southside; Jordyn Hadnot 6th grade, Cobb; Kevin Lipford 6th grade, Abiding Word Lutheran; Leilah Mosely 7th grade, Labay Middle School; D.K. Rawlings 7th grade, YES Prep Southside; Asia Sadberry 8th grade, Black Middle School; Timothy Scruggs 8th grade, Black Middle School; Anysa Square 8th grade, Young Women’s College Prep Academy; Isaiah Turner 7th grade, Black Middle School; Zacaria Washington 6th grade, Key Middle School

For more information, please visit the AANSBC website at or contact them 281.827,.9793.