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Boston’s Best Spellers Celebrated at 14th Annual Citywide Spelling Bee

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

Mayor Michelle Wu, family members, teachers, and friends were on hand today to support 19 Boston youth from across the City competing in Boston’s 14th annual BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee. 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, Sulayman Abdirahman from Roxbury, now goes on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in May.  

“Congratulations to all of our student spellers today for the hard work, courage, and composure it takes to make it to the Citywide Spelling Bee. You all make Boston, your school communities, and your families proud,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Thank you to the families and teachers who supported them along the way, and best of luck to Sulayman representing Boston in the national spelling bee in Washington DC this May.”

Over 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. 

“We are very proud to be hosting the BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee for the 14th year and so thankful to the Boston Bruins Foundation partnership to bring this exciting opportunity to our city’s youth,” said Marta Rivera, Interim Commissioner of BCYF. “Thank you also to our panel of judges–David Leonard, Sebastian Stockman and Dave Silk–who volunteered their time to support us today.”

Mayor Wu and Commissioner Rivera opened the speaking program and welcomed the spellers and their families. All spellers were given participation medals. The Bee was held in Rabb Hall at the Boston Public Library’s Copley Branch. Judges were David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library; Sebastian Stockman, Professor of English, Northeastern University and Dave Silk, Boston Bruins alum/1980 US Olympic gold medalist and Boston Bruins Foundation Member.

The winner of this year’s Bee was Sulayman Abdirahman, age 12, from who won by spelling "Apres” correctly.  The second place finisher was Anneliese Yu, age 12, from Boston’s West End and coming in third was Josephine LoRusso, age 13, from the South End. The Bee went 12 rounds and 29 final rounds.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running spelling bee. This year’s Boston winner will now advance to compete in the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  The one and only winner from Massachusetts was in 1939. In addition to the opportunity to advance to the National Bee, the BCYF Spelling Bee winner received the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a 2022 U.S Mint Proof Set donated by Mr.Jay Sugarmann in honor of his father, 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 8 Tablet, $25.00 Amazon Gift Card, and trophies. 

Winning words from the previous 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

2019

Huckabee

2021

Glissando

2022

Apres

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