Radium students cheer each other on, one year after tornado - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Radium students cheer each other on, one year after tornado

The remaining two contestants, students Nicholas Summerville (l) and Dontrell Hodge (r), rooted for each other. (Source: WALB) The remaining two contestants, students Nicholas Summerville (l) and Dontrell Hodge (r), rooted for each other. (Source: WALB)
Radium's auditorium was standing room only, with the community showing support for the students. (Source: WALB) Radium's auditorium was standing room only, with the community showing support for the students. (Source: WALB)
Principal Bruce Bowles called his students "resilient". (Source: WALB) Principal Bruce Bowles called his students "resilient". (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Students at Radium Springs Elementary School in Albany, hit hard by an EF-3 tornado almost one year ago, demonstrated their strength and school spirit at their annual Spelling Bee Thursday morning.

Despite some nervous jitters from the participants, the competitors correctly spelled 124 words.

It was a packed house, filled with students and families, cheering on the contestants. In the end, the winner was 5th grader Dontrel Hodges.

The school's principal, Bruce Bowles, said despite incredible challenges in the year following the tornado, the children have remained resilient.

"It was a long recovery, but right now, we are seeing the end of the road with a lot of it. And, today was a great day, which shows you the kind of spirit they have," said Bowles.

Radium's student population has decreased, from 570 students before the tornado to 520 students today.

The principal is confident that children will return to Radium in future years.

Our very own Melissa Hodges was the caller for the bee, her second year at the job.

The winner will go on to compete in the system-wide spelling bee.

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