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Boston’s best spellers celebrated at 10th annual citywide spelling bee

March 20, 2017

The winner goes on to represent Boston at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

Boston--A crowd of family members, teachers and friends were on hand today to congratulate 22 Boston youth from across the City competing in Boston’s tenth annual BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.  Organized by Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency, and sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation, the winner now goes on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May. 

“We are very proud of you all and honored to be hosting the Bee for the tenth year in a row,” said William Morales, Commissioner of BCYF.  “Thank you to our longtime sponsor, the Boston Bruins Foundation, for supporting the BCYF Bee each year and giving us a chance to show off Boston’s talented youth.”

Over 3000 young people participated in Boston public and parochial school Bees to qualify for the BCYF Citywide Bee.  The preparation for the school Bees helps young people improve their spelling, broaden their vocabulary and build self-confidence. 

Commissioner Morales opened the speaking program and Dan Koh, Chief of Staff for the City of Boston, welcomed the spellers and their families and presented each speller with a participation medal.  The judges this year were Liz Kurkjian-Henry, retired from the Boston Public Schools, Scot Colford from the Boston Public Library and Chief Koh. It was an exciting, suspenseful event with cheers (and some tears) from the audience and participants. 

To honor the Bee’s tenth anniversary, winners from past years were invited back and a plaque was created to hang at BCYF’s Administrative Office which will include the names of all the past and future Spelling Bee winners.

The winner of this year’s Bee was Farah Raslan-Haniff, age 9, from Allston who won by spelling "cacophony” correctly.  The second place finisher was Mira Yu, age 11, from the North End and coming in third was Sylvia O'Hearn, age 11, from East Boston. The Bee went 14 rounds plus 13 final rounds before the Championship Round..

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running spelling bee.  School children from all over the country converge on Washington D.C. every May to compete in the National Bee.  The one and only winner from Massachusetts was in 1939. In addition to an all-expenses paid trip to the National Bee, the BCYF Spelling Bee winner received a dictionary, a $100 savings bond, and a trophy.  Second place and third place finishers received Barnes and Noble gift cards and trophies.  

Participating Spellers:

Badge#

Speller

School

Grade

Age

Home Neighborhood

1

Vincent O’Byrne

Boston Latin School

7

12

South End

2

Carlo Basile

Bradley Elementary

5

10

East Boston

3

Darren Castleberry

Brooke Charter School-Mattapan

7

13

Dorchester

4

Dylan Huynh

Conley Elementary

5

11

West Roxbury

5

Malaika Wasim

Edison K-8

7

13

Brighton

6

Mira Yu

Eliot K-8

6

11

North End

7

Edgar Cuervo

Guild Elementary

4

10

East Boston

8

George Mamalakis

Hub Homeschool Group

6

12

West Roxbury

9

Joseph Doherty

Jackson/Manm K-8

6

12

Brighton

10

Bryan Torro

Kennedy Patrick Elementary

5

11

East Boston

11

Arianna Rivera

Kipp Academy-Boston

7

13

Dorchester

12

Peter DeVito

Lyndon K-8

5

11

West Roxbury

13

Brandon Hashi

Manning Elementary

5

11

Jamaica Plain

14

Jackson Nguyen

Murphy K-8

7

12

Dorchester

15

Emmett Hughes

Ohrenberger School

6

12

Roslindale

16

Adrien Feliz

Our Lady Perpetual Help Mission Grammar

6

11

Weymouth

17

Sylvia O’Hearn

Quincy Elementary

5

11

East Boston

18

Ryan Gohlmann

St. John School

5

10

Beacon Hill

19

Keyshon Wright

Sumner School

4

10

Hyde Park

20

Evan Sardina

Warren/Prescott K-8

6

11

Charlestown

21

Farah Raslan Haniff

Winship Elementary

4

9

Allston

22

Nateh Panyere

Winthrop Elementary

5

10

Dorchester

Winning words from the previous nine years of the Bee:

Year

Winning Word

2008

Lariat

2009

Scenario

2010

Ravioli

2011

Toboggan

2012

Myriad

2013

Schnauzer

2014

Contiguous

2015

Schottische

2016

Diurnal

About Boston Centers for Youth and Families

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency. BCYF operates 36 community centers in Boston that offer a variety of engaging and enriching programs for people of all ages created through community input and need. BCYF also oversees many citywide programs including the nationally-recognized violence intervention and prevention Streetworker Program and SuccessLink, Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program.