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Boston’s best spellers celebrated at 12th Annual Citywide Spelling Bee

March 17, 2019

A crowd of family members, teachers, and friends were on hand to support 21 Boston youth from across the City competing in Boston’s 12th annual BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee.

A crowd of family members, teachers, and friends were on hand today to congratulate 21 Boston youth from across the City competing in Boston’s 12th 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 to be hosting the BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee for the twelfth year,” said William Morales, Commissioner of BCYF.  “The competition is fierce and the young spellers are truly inspiring. 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.”

More than 3,000 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.

“The BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their academic excellence and is a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication,” said Marty Martinez, Boston’s Chief of Health and Human Services. “Participation in this spelling bee is not just an individual achievement, but it’s also a communal achievement by each student and all of the people at their side. We are proud of the work that went into each student's presence.”

Commissioner Morales opened the speaking program and welcomed the spellers and their families and presented each speller with a participation medal.  Chief Martinez shared greetings and congratulations from Mayor Walsh. The judges this year were Dhruti Bhagat, Web Services Library, Boston Public Library; Roxanne Longoria, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, City of Boston Health and Human Services Cabinet; and Ann Siegel, Director of BCYF Roslindale Community Center.  It was an exciting, suspenseful event with cheers (and some tears) from the audience and participants.

The winner of this year’s Bee was Nicla Mirabito age 12 from the North End who won by spelling "Huckaback” correctly.  The second place finisher was Sulayman Abdirahman age 9 from Roxbury and coming in third was Mira Yu age 13 from the North End. The Bee went 33 rounds plus one final round 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 meet in 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 the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online Premium, and a trophy.  Second place and third place finishers received an Amazon Fire 7 Tablet, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and trophies.

Participating Spellers:

#

School

Speller

Grade

Age

Neighborhood

1

Boston Latin School

Mira Yu

8

13

North End (02114)

2

Bradley Elementary School

Saeed Saeed

5

11

East Boston

3

Brooke Charter School, Mattapan

Sulayman Abdirahman

4

9

Roxbury

4

Edison K-8

Manuela Rios Casteneda

6

12

Brighton

5

Eliot K-8

Nicla Mirabito

6

12

North End

6

Guild Elementary

Sofia Suarez

5

11

East Boston

7

Harvard- Kent

Karam Bouaouida

5

10

Charlestown

8

Jackson/Mann K-8

Elizabeth Baldes

4

11

Brighton

9

Kipp Academy Elementary School

Isis Daniels

3

10

Chinatown

10

Kipp Academy Boston Middle School

Tyree Howard

8

14

Roslindale

11

Lyndon K-8

Brendan Nolan

6

11

West Roxbury

12

Manning Elementary School

Ronan Miller

5

11

Roslindale

13

Mission Hill K-8

Amishai Goodman Goldstein

8

13

Jamaica Plain

14

Murphy K-8

Lyla Mendoza

4

10

Dorchester

15

Quincy Elementary School

MaeMae Chiang

4

9

Dorchester

16

Samuel Adams Elementary

Joel Kaiser

4

10

East Boston

17

South Boston Catholic Academy

Jack Lambrecht

5

11

South End

18

St. John

Emma Henderson

5

11

Beacon Hill

19

Sumner School

Kevin Anderson

4

9

West Roxbury

20

Warren/Prescott K-8

Joe Neilon

5

10

Charlestown

21

Winship Elementary

Bethlehem Tewoldemedhin

4

10

Brighton

Winning words from the previous eleven 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

2017

Cacophony

2018

Crescendo

About Boston Centers for Youth and Families

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) 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 citywide programs including the nationally-recognized violence intervention and prevention Streetworker Program, the GIRLS Initiative, Camp Joy special needs program and many aquatic offerings.