Rondae Hosts C.H.A.P. Spelling Bee

If you don’t think spelling bees are competitive, then you haven’t met Ellis Wilson.

Wilson, the most energetic of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s guests at his C.H.A.P Spelling Bee, wore his heart on his sleeve, throwing up fist pumps when he spelled words right. He didn’t win the top prize, but won the title of fan favorite, got to meet Hollis-Jefferson and eat pizza and popsicles.

How do you spell “good times?”

Hollis-Jefferson staged the event with the Hospital for Special Surgery at HSS Training Center in conjunction with Reading Plus, a program promoting reading for Brooklyn students in grades 3-12.

“It’s always been a part of me to give back to the community, help the kids in whatever way I can,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “Reading Plus does a great job of that. Education is a big focal point that kids should understand and they should want to do better and learn more things and learn new words and just educate themselves.”

Hollis-Jefferson, who said he was a good speller in school, but onomatopoeia always eluded him, was one of the judges, along with his mother Rylanda. They tested the kids with words from the Reading Plus curriculum, as well as hospital words and basketball terms. Signed basketballs, jerseys and trophies were given out at the end of the night, worthy prizes to entice the kids to keep reading. The Nets rookie really emphasized how important education was and encouraged the kids to keep practicing, telling them they’d thank their parents one day for making do that extra 15 minutes.

“It’s upon us, the older people that know, to instill these tools into young people today,” he said.

He also left them with a new motto: C.H.A.P., which stands for: Calm, Humble and Patient, the acronym and way of life that’s helped him get to the NBA.

“It’s a way of life,” he said. “Be calm through everything, adversity, the trials and things you go through. Be humble through all the praise and success you’ll get. And be patient. Nothing happens overnight, everything takes time and that’s why we put it on there, so kids understand that. Hopefully one day live by it.” 

Click here to learn more about the HSS Training Center

Click here to learn more about Reading Plus