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Spelling Bee contestant’s fall from grace short-lived

Ashley White in the 2002 documentary "Spellbound." Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Ashley White in the 2002 documentary “Spellbound.” Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Ashley White was a National Spelling Bee contestant and was featured in the 2002 documentary “Spellbound,” about child contestants in the nerve-wracking spelling competitions.

But White, who grew up in tough neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., wasn’t living such a charmed life by the time the documentary was released, according to this article in the Washington Post.

She had become a single mother and homeless, finally landing at a homeless shelter for teen mothers.

However, people who had watched the bubbly, confident girl in the film found her, the Washington Post did a follow-up story on her, and White decided to recapture the hope she once had.

She went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from Howard University and now is an inspiration speaker for other women in similar straits.

“You’re considered a statistic. The likelihood of being successful is diminished in society’s eyes, and you have to defy and debunk the myth,” White tells the women she meets. “Stand up, and do not be marginalized.”

Social workers help clients overcome life’s hurdles. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers “Help Starts Here” consumer website.

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1 Comment

  1. Love hearing about people becoming social workers and am especially inspired by her story. Congratulations Ashley White!

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