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Top Spellers to Compete in Connecticut Spelling Bee in West Hartford

The Connecticut Spelling Bee will be held Saturday in West Hartford, lexicographer Noah Webster’s hometown.


The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will co-present the third annual Connecticut Spelling Bee with the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper, the Hartford Courant. The state’s best spellers will gather at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford on Saturday, March 9, 2019, for the state-wide competition.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, the Hartford Courant, and the University of Saint Joseph collaborated for the first time in 2017 to offer The Connecticut Spelling Bee. This state-wide spelling competition is the last step on the path to the Scripps National SpellingBee. Students who have made it to The Connecticut Spelling Bee have already won their school- or town-wide spelling bees. In some cases, that means being the top speller out of 500 to 600 students. Nearly 10,000 Connecticut students in grades 4-8 participated in the spelling bee program this year. Out of that number, 44 will move on to The Connecticut Spelling Bee.

In 2019, schools from all eight of Connecticut’s counties participated in the spelling bee program, including: Abraham Pierson School (Clinton), Albert D. Griswold Middle School (Rocky Hill), Andover Elementary School (Andover), Bethel Middle School (Bethel), Bristow Middle School (West Hartford), Carmen Arace Intermediate School (Bloomfield), Carrigan 5/6 Intermediate School (West Haven), Chaplin Elementary School (Chaplin), Cloonan School (Stamford), E. C. Adams Middle School (Guilford), East Lyme Middle School (Niantic), Fletcher W. Judson School (Watertown), Glenville School (Greenwich), Harry M. Bailey Middle School (West Haven), Helen Keller Middle School (Easton), High Horizons Magnet School (Bridgeport), Interdistrict Discovery Magnet School (Bridgeport), John F Kennedy Intermediate Elementary (Windsor), King Philip Middle School (West Hartford), Litchfield Intermediate School (Litchfield), Litchfield Middle School (Litchfield), Multicultural Magnet School (Bridgeport), North Branford Intermediate School (North Branford), Northwestern Regional Middle School (Winsted), Old Greenwich School (Old Greenwich), Old Saybrook Middle School (Old Saybrook), Park City Magnet School (Bridgeport), Pawcatuck Middle School (Pawcatuck), Prendergast School (Ansonia), Renzulli Academy (Hartford), Sedgwick Middle School (West Hartford), Sherman Elementary School (Sherman), Sherman Middle School (Sherman), Somers Elementary School (Somers), Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy (Orange), The Gilbert School (Winsted), The Independent Day School (Middlefield), The Montessori School (Wilton), Thomaston Center School (Thomaston), Vernon Center Middle School (Vernon), West Hill School (Rocky Hill), Westbrook Middle School (Westbrook), Western CT Academy Of International Studies (Danbury), and Westside Middle School Academy (Danbury).

The winner of The Connecticut Spelling Bee will represent the state on the national stage at Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is held in National Harbor, Maryland in May of each year. Last year’s winner, fifth-grader Aritra Banerjee of West Hill School in Rocky Hill, was one of the top 519 spellers in the nation. Scripps estimates that around 11 million students participate in the spelling program each year. In addition to an expense-paid trip to Scripps National Spelling Bee, the top Connecticut speller will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Saint Joseph.

The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee program is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. “Spelling bees offer students the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the language,” says Noah Webster House Executive Director Jennifer Matos. “Through this experience, we hope that students will discover that words really do matter. This knowledge will help them to become articulate and sentient citizens.”

In addition, spellers develop life-long skills such as confidence, dedication, grit, and the resilience of the human spirit.  Perhaps most inspiring, spelling beeshave a way of creating communities who rally around each speller, cheering in their victories and sympathizing in their defeat.

Andrew S. Julien, publisher and editor-in-chief at the Hartford Courant Media Group will serve as a judge of the competition, along with Professor Sharon Ware, assistant professor of Special Education and director of the Literacy Internship Program at the University of Saint Joseph. Will Dolan, a former Scripps National Spelling Bee speller, will return for his third year as The Connecticut Spelling Bee’s pronouncer.

Cheer on Connecticut’s top spellers! The Bee will be held at the University of Saint Joseph’s Hoffman Auditorium, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019. This event is free and open to the public (first come, first served). Doors open at 9 a.m. and breakfast foods will be available for purchase (proceeds to support the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society). For more information about The Connecticut Spelling Bee, please call the museum at 860-521-5362 or email [email protected].

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