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When Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) student Gracie Williams realized she could showcase her poetry skills while honoring a friend, she jumped at the chance. Little did she know, she would take home one of the grand prizes for the EPB Black History Month Poetry Contest!

Gracie entered the contest to write about Henrietta Bell, a woman who shared a room with her great-grandmother in a nursing home. Being inspired by her strength and kindness, Gracie wanted to honor Henrietta by sharing her story.

“I entered the contest because I wanted to honor my friend Henrietta,” Gracie said. “I love her so much. She is over 90 years old and has lived through a lot. She did not allow all the difficulties in life to make her bitter, but instead became wise, compassionate, and kind.”

Gracie and her mother traveled from Georgia to Tennessee to accept her award for the poem. They were both pleasantly surprised when Gracie’s teacher, Mrs. Spath, traveled all the way to the ceremony to support Gracie!

Gracie and Mrs. Spath

Gracie and Mrs. Spath

“We had no idea that she was coming!” Rhonda Williams, Gracie’s mother said. “We never expected her to do that because she’s a two and a half hour drive from where the ceremony was held. Talk about above-and-beyond the call of duty!”

The tremendous support of her teachers is one of the many aspects of GCA that Gracie and her mother appreciate. After enrolling in kindergarten due to her life-threatening food allergies, Gracie and her mother have fallen in love with the curriculum, support, and overall ease that GCA provides.

“When she was really young and didn’t understand her own allergies, I just didn’t feel it was safe for her to be in a school setting,” Rhonda said. “I had planned to put her in a well-respected brick and mortar school near us. Someone told me about GCA and I thought we would use that to get through the young years and then for middle school we would put her in a private school. But now we have grown to love GCA. I have decided to continue with this program.”

Gracie has been successful academically at GCA, as highlighted by her poetry contest win. One of her biggest cheerleaders, Henrietta Bell, is also extremely proud of Gracie’s achievements!

“Henrietta loves anything that Gracie does!” Rhonda said. “She smiles, laughs, and claps whenever Gracie is telling her anything.”

Gracie was surprised by her win and was overcome with feelings of joy to have been able to honor Henrietta with a winning poem.

“I was very surprised,” Gracie said. “When I found out that I had won I was so happy that I felt like I was flying!”

Check out Gracie’s winning poem and a photo of her with Henrietta below!

Henrietta Bell by Gracie Williams

Henrietta Bellgracie-and-henrietta

She lives her life so well.

A precious soul is she.

She inspires me!

 

She has learned a lot in over ninety years.

It wasn’t easy, but you never see any tears.

She sees life through kind eyes.

She is very wise.

 

I love to hear her laugh.

I love her smile so sweet.

Her eyes are always sparkling.

Her humor can’t be beat!

 

I feel so blessed to know her.

God has given me this gift.

I will forget her never.

I will remember her forever!

 

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