There was both tension and excitement in the air as Washington Primary School’s second grade spelling bee played out last Friday afternoon in the gym. After a series of pressure filled rounds, Charles Nottingham emerged as this year’s champion after correctly spelling the word “mechanical.”
The annual competition was founded by current Woodhull School staff member Tim Pillion, who presided over the finals during the early years of the contest while teaching at Washington School.
The initiative has effectively promoted reading, grammar and spelling and student interest has grown in each of these areas. Washington reading teachers Jeffrey Dicker and Barbara McKenna presided over this year’s championship rounds.
Five students from each of the four second grade classes advanced to the finals. With their classmates watching, the finalists sat in front of the school stage until their name was called. When it was their turn, contestants stood as Mr. Dicker and Mrs. McKenna read out this year’s words.
Excitement pervaded the gym as contestants started to fall one by one. In the end, the contest was reduced to just three competitors; Mr. Nottingham, Colby Curran and Amanda Ganley, who finished in first, second and third place, respectively. Students from the classes of teachers Katherine Castellano, Patricia Maltempo, Kristen Thatcher and Joanne Tures participated in the contest.
Marin Mullaly captured last year’s competition when he correctly spelled the word “secretary.” Jayden Roman won the 2015 contest when he was able to spell the word “ambition.” Caroline McGreevy won in June 2014 when she accurately spelled “quality.” Ryan Curran grabbed the 2013 spelling bee when he correctly spelled the word “petroleum.” Charlotte Soljanich won the 2012 contest by spelling the word “trapezoid.” Andreas Seferian won in 2011 when he accurately spelled “goulash.” Anna Wickey captured the 2010 title when she correctly spelled “business.” Ryan Hoffmann won the crown in 2009 after nailing the spelling of the word “pasture.” Nicholas Inman won in 2008 when he spelled out “eclipse.” In 2007, Sarah James took top honors after she spelled “giraffe.”
“Our second graders love participating in the spelling bee,” Washington Principal Marsha Neville said. “It’s a real challenge that helps keep learning enjoyable and fun.”
Mr. Nottingham’s name will be engraved on a plaque that contains the names past second grade spelling bee champs. It is affixed to a wall in the main lobby of the school.