Student Features

Gifted sophomore scores big on the Scrabble board

Feb 27, 2020

A sophomore and gifted student at The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, Heather Jordan recently maintained her undefeated record and won the Philadelphia ASAP Scrabble Tournament, earning an invitation to the 2020 Student North American SCRABBLE Championship.

After watching the 15-year-old Philadelphian win game after game at the African American History Museum during the daylong competition, representatives from PA Cyber's gifted and talented department were thrilled with their student's success and impressed with her reputation as a "rock star" among the participants, coaches and league staff.

"She faced a tough team in the final round, however remained undefeated, taking the first place trophy for the advanced games," Mike Hissam, director of gifted and talented, said, adding that the tournament also featured beginner and intermediate levels of play.

Jordan demonstrated her savvy at the Scrabble board throughout the tournament, even winning the admiration of local legend Johnny "Scrabble," a former prisoner who reformed himself in part by playing the game while incarcerated. A pioneer in delivering after school programs to Philadelphia-area students, he played a big role in establishing the tournament.

Hissam said Jordan was the only student in the tournament with an undefeated record and the only student who competed solo.

"Since Heather competed individually in a two-person-team competition, she was awarded two trophies and graciously handed over one of the trophies to me to accept on behalf of PA Cyber and the gifted and talented department," Hissam said.

Hissam also spoke with a Sports Illustrated writer covering the tournament. The magazine will publish a story in which Jordan is interviewed in an upcoming issue.

"We concluded our day by having dinner with the Eric, Jane, and Heather Jordan," Hissam said. "Eric is a great example of a father supporting not only his daughter's educational needs, but also the needs of his wife, Jane, who is blind. In fact, Jane is the one who taught Heather how to play Scrabble on a Braille board."

Heather will be competing in the 2020 Student North American SCRABBLE Championship in Baltimore this April.

She and her rubber ducky good luck charm spoke with us after the Philadelphia tournament about her success in school and on the Scrabble board. Watch the video here.

Heather and the Chancellor of the Counsel of Mallards flanked by gifted facilitator Brian Boothby (L) and director of gifted and talented, Mike Hissam.

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instruction methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and does not charge tuition to students or families.