Two CCA students advance to national competitions

Published 11:43 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton Christian Academy students Madison Higgins and Angelita Sullivan won their respective competitions at the state level to advance to the national competition in South Carolina in April.

The two students competed in the Alabama Christian Education Association (ACEA) statewide competitions with Angelita Sullivan winning first place in two art disciplines — digital media and polychromatic drawing, and Higgins taking first place in the senior high school spelling bee. The two advanced to the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS) National Competition at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Higgins, a ninth grader at CCA, won the senior high school spelling bee against ninth-12th grade students in her first time competing. She had competed in the elementary spelling bee at the state competition and won it in the past, however, only the senior high school winner advances to the national spelling bee.

“It was difficult … I did elementary and it was not too difficult, but it is obviously very different in senior high,” Higgins said. “I did not want to do it, but my mom was like ‘You should do it,’ and it all worked out.”

Higgins and the runner-up competitor went back and forth for a few rounds spelling words correctly before he misspelled “totem.” Higgins spelled that word correctly, and then spelled “geranium” correctly in her next turn to win the spelling bee. She said she used digital apps that call out words to better understand their proper pronunciations, and researched the words’ origins to help her with the spellings as well.

“I hope (nationals) will go well, but it is already an accomplishment to win states,” Higgins said. “(CCA) has never made it to nationals in spelling, so I am pretty excited to see what happens.”

To go along with her two wins, Angelita Sullivan also placed second in the acrylic painting competition at the state competition, but only the winner advances to nationals. The junior created a realistic orange slice using her iPad and stylus to win the digital media competition, and a butterfly drawing to win the polychromatic competition.

“I have been making art for as long as I can remember,” Angelita Sullivan said. “I have always enjoyed the prospect of filtering the world through my lens and creating something tangible. Being able to showcase my art is a huge moment of expression for me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to compete in nationals for fine arts.”

This school year was the first that CCA has had an art department, and the school was able to offer art classes to third through 11th grades for the first time. Elementary students participate in art class once a week, and high schoolers have the option to take an Art 101 class daily. Bridgette Sullivan, the CCA art teacher and Angelita’s mother, will be the representative for the school traveling with the two students to the national competition.

“I am very blessed … I am so glad that I have the opportunity to be the director of this program,” Bridgette Sullivan said. “I have nine high school students who do so well at expressing themselves through different mediums. They have been able to compete across the state in several competitions, and now I have one who has the opportunity to compete on the national level. Angelita is my daughter too, so I am double proud.”

Higgins and Angelita Sullivan will travel to Greenville for the AACS National Competition from April 9-11.