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Book Buddy Shines Brightly in 2024!

During the summer of 2021, ICF’s Marcia Chambers and Verna Ramdeen had the pleasure of meeting an eager-to-learn seven-year-old boy, A.Z. ( for privacy reasons we can't state his name) now a fourth-grade student at Dunaire Elementary School in Stone Mountain.

A.Z. became one of our virtual readers when ICF volunteers, led by Marcia, joined forces with the Dekalb School District and a community group to launch Book Buddies, a virtual reading program where students spend time reading with adult volunteers. ICF’s secretary, Verna Ramdeen, and A.Z. became book buddies and have remained so since its launch three years ago. 

A.Z. has always been a shining star, but this year, he shone even more brightly as he became the 2024 Dunaire Spelling Bee champion. His ICF book buddy, Verna Ramdeen, became his Spelling Bee coach, and they spent several hours each week over an eight-week period practicing some never-before-seen and never-before-heard words. A.Z. advanced to the next qualifying round where he took third place at the county’s regional level. This allowed him to move on to the selection of the county winner on February 24. He faced strong competition from much older students and was successful in seven out of the nine rounds of the competition. Although he did not win at this level, he placed in the top five. 

What an extraordinary feat for a nine-year-old! ICF is extremely proud of A.Z. and plan to celebrate his accomplishment in no ordinary fashion.

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