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Mayor Martin J. Walsh Celebrates Boston's Best Spellers

March 19, 2016

21 Boston Youth Competed In 9th Annual Citywide Spelling Bee

Mayor Martin J. Walsh was on hand today to congratulate 21 Boston youth from across the City competing in Boston’s ninth annual BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee at the BCYF Mildred Avenue Community Center in Mattapan.  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 with travel support from JetBlue, the winner now goes on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May. 

“My congratulations to all the spellers and a special thank you to the parents and teachers for supporting these youth on their educational journey,” said Mayor Walsh.  “I am proud of you all and look forward to another exciting Bee.”

Over 3200 young people participated in school Bees to qualify for the BCYF Citywide Bee today.  The preparation for the school Bees helps young people improve their spelling, broaden their vocabulary and build self-confidence. 

“Thank you Boston Bruins Foundation and JetBlue for supporting the BCYF Bee each year and giving us a chance to show off Boston’s talented youth,” said William Morales, Commissioner of BCYF.  “I want to congratulate all of the participants for the hard work they put in to qualify for today’s Bee.”

Commissioner Morales opened the speaking program and Mayor Walsh welcomed the spellers and their families and presented each speller with a participation medal.  The judges this year were Liz Kurkjian-Henry, recently retired from the Boston Public Schools, Scot Colford from the Boston Public Library and Felix Arroyo, Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Health & Human Services.  It was an exciting, suspenseful event with cheers (and some tears) from the audience and participants. 

The winner was Emily Sun, age 13, from West Roxbury who won by spelling "diurnal” correctly.  The second place finisher was Khugan Chan, age 11, from Allston and coming in third was Markos Mamalakis, age 12, from West Roxbury. The Bee went a record 21 rounds plus 15 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 subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica.  Second place and third place finishers received a Kindle and a Barnes and Noble gift card.