South Windsor students compete in District Spelling Bee

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Wed., Jan. 15, 2014
Tanishka Dalavi spells the word ‘perceive’ without hesitation. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Tanishka Dalavi spells the word ‘perceive’ without hesitation. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Fifth- through eighth-grade students from South Windsor showed their spelling talent recently at the fourth annual District Spelling Bee. The Friends Room of the South Windsor Public Library was filled with anxious competitors and supportive friends and family members on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 11.

Children’s Library Director Sandy Westbrook was impressed by the contestants. “I noticed this year that many more kids did an outstanding job,” said Westbrook, who served as a judge for the competition. “That tells me that they have been really studying.” According to Westbrook, this is one step towards qualifying for the Scripps National Spelling Bee that will be held in Washington, D.C., this spring. “This is comparable to a sport competition. The kids work very hard at this. Many contestants join other bees, such as a geography bee or even a science bee. They take this very seriously. It is nice to see the kids excel in scholastics,” Westbrook said.

The winner of the South Windsor District Spelling Bee will compete in the Regional Spelling Bee in New Haven on March 18. Two winning contestants from the regional level will go on the nationals. The Scripps National Spelling Bee lasts for a week. According to Westbrook, it is held in a convention room at a D.C.-area hotel and consists of almost 300 contestants. “This is a great opportunity for kids to meet other kids from several parts of the world,” she said.

While the local bees do not require the contestants to provide more than the correct spelling, the national bee will require spelling, vocabulary definitions, parts of speech and root words. The first round of elimination will be done on a computer with headsets. The second round will be in front of an audience and taped by ESPN2 for later broadcasting, and the third and final round will be in front of an audience and aired live by ESPN. “This experience can only help the kids prepare for their future. It will definitely help with their PSATs and SATs, as well as speaking in front of a crowd,” Westbrook said. “This will be a skill that will help them for the rest of their lives.”

Eli Terry School fifth-grader Keshav Ramesh won the district bee last year. “I have done this before,” said Ramesh. “I won the bee last year and went on to the nationals. I really like being a part of the bee. Getting up in front of people doesn’t bother me.”

Ramesh went on to win the South Windsor District Spelling Bee again this year, and he will be a contestant at the regional level in New Haven this March. He has hopes of going all the way to the top of nationals in May.

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