A classic spelling battle took place at Boulan Park Middle School on January 15th. It was the final school round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The winner would get to move on to the regional contest at Oakland Schools in February — and then possibly to the national finals — while everyone else would have to wait until next year.
The competition was administered by April Reem and Sue Dornin, co-department heads for ELA (English Language Arts). Thirty-one students participated at the beginning; only one was left standing at the end. It took a full 10 rounds to find the winner. The words were increasingly difficult, coming first from the Scripps list and ultimately from the dictionary. Students were allowed to ask for the word’s definition, origin, part of speech, and its use in a sentence. A computer was sometimes used to repeat the pronunciation.
6th graders: Alex Xu, Pehar Rampal, Sawyer Darish, Shraddha Gatla, Irene Jung, Purvi Raj, Angela Lee, Navneet Ramadurai, Girish Kotagiri, Danielle Kurkowski, Jason Li
7th graders: Sujin Moon, Fathema Ahmed, Shruthi Sunilkumar, Gina Moy, Kevin Zhao, Ananya Bhemanadhuni
8th graders: Sribharat Koripella, Kevin Huang, Laura Nicholas, Sahaja Pinnu, Siddarth Marthi, Ashwal Shastry, Sara Stroud, Malavika Venkatesh, Yulie Wang, Jiarong (Jason) Song
As students were eliminated one by one, the teachers thanked them for their efforts and praised them for doing well. It’s no easy accomplishment to rise to the top of your class in spelling. Every competitor was a champion in his or her own way.
In the end, Malavika Venkatesh and Shannon Li were tied for third place. Irene Jung took second place. The grand prize winner was… Sribharat Koripella, who said that his victory felt “Great!” Sribharat had won 10th place two years ago, 3rd place last year, and 1st place this year. His winning word? P-S-O-R-I-A-S-I-S.
Photos by Ed Morykwas, School Life Troy.