South Windsor Spelling Bee sending champion student to Washington, D.C.

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 21, 2013
The South Windsor Spelling Bee winners are (l-r) Sai Manasani, Keshav Ramesh and Sairah Sheikh, with children’s librarian Sandy Westbrook. Ramesh was the champion and will be going to Washington, D.C., to compete nationally. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

A local boy will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in May to represent South Windsor at the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Keshav Ramesh, 9, a fourth-grader at Eli Terry Elementary School, was the champion for this year’s South Windsor Spelling Bee.

Hosted by the South Windsor Public Library, the spelling bee is unique in the area. “I don’t know of anybody else who does a spelling bee,” said children’s librarian Sandy Westbrook.

For the last two years, the spelling bee was offered by the South Windsor Community Foundation. “But, they were unable to do it this year,” said Westbrook. “Several parents asked if the library would be willing to take it on… so I did.”

The preparation for the spelling bee is quite rigorous, with a spelling club which meets regularly for the kids to train, memorize and learn the rules of English language spelling. “When the schools enroll [to host a spelling bee], they are given access to the Scripps website for words for each level,” explained Westbrook. “The library started a spelling bee club where kids could come in two times a month to practice. We had a microphone and a speaker so they got used to speaking in front of people.”

Students from all five local elementary schools and from the middle school went through a qualifying round in December. The top 20 finishers moved on to the finals, which were held on Feb. 14.

After about 30 rounds, three finalists came out on top.

With the winning word “dervish,” fourth-grader Keshav Ramesh was crowned the South Windsor champion. Middle school students Sai Manasani and Sairah Sheikh came in second and third.

Ramesh will travel to Washington, D.C., with an adult on Memorial Day weekend to compete with students from all over the United States.

How did he feel about his win? “He was really surprised,” said a pleased Westbrook. “He has really enjoyed it. He studies every day,” she said.

The South Windsor finals were taped and will be available for viewing on Cox Community Access Channel 14 on March 24 and March 31 at 6 p.m.

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