‘Articulate’ Student Wins Spelling Bee


Students gathered in the library to compete in the annual Spelling Bee.

The bell rang throughout the school, signaling the start of Lancer Time. It was nine o’clock on a chilly February morning. While other students hurried into their classrooms, nineteen students nervously filed into the library, ready to compete in the Longfellow Spelling Bee. 

Inside the library, chairs were lined up in rows of three. The rows curved to face the judge’s table, where the three judges sat. The judges for this year’s spelling bee were librarians Lisa Hoyle and Meghan Saladino, and Counselor Bruce Walker. 

Students were each assigned a number corresponding to the seat and row they had to sit in. One by one, students were called up and given a word to spell aloud. Tense silence hung in the air as each student spelled their given word into a microphone. 

As they finished the last letter, they turned to the spelling bee coordinator, Ms. Hoyle, awaiting a signal that they were right. When the quiet remained, the students would exhale a sigh of relief. The silence was a sign they had spelled the word correctly. 

However, every so often, the sharp chime of a bell rang in the air, which, like a buzzer, signaled that the word had been misspelled and the student had been eliminated.

Twenty-one students qualified for the bee after taking the written test, but only nineteen students showed up. The students would take turns spelling words until only one competitor remained.

“I remember the word that my opponent got wrong,” said spelling bee champion Jaivi C., recalling the moment she won, “it was orbital,  and then the winning word for me was articulate.” 

The second-place winner was  Sri C.

After Jaivi’s Longfellow Spelling Bee win, she competed in the Fairfax County Spelling Bee at Lake Braddock Secondary School. The county spelling bee was slightly different from Longfellow’s.  The county spelling bee had a new word list, and the process was more complicated. The first round was a written portion. The students with the highest scores from that moved on to the next round, which was oral. Then after that, the winners of the oral round moved on to the final round.  Jaivi made it all the way to the final rounds of the county bee, but did not move on to the next level.

Jaivi advised that anyone looking to participate in a competition like this should take time to prepare. There is a list of words provided to competitors that they can use to study. Jaivi also used an app called Word Club. It is a free app for any mobile device that is the perfect tool for preparing for the spelling bee.  After that, it’s a matter of keeping yourself calm under pressure.

“Take your time, and don’t go very fast,” advised Jaivi. “If you have to pause in the middle of the word, do that; there is no rush.” 

The spelling bee is an annual event that will occur again next year. Ms. Hoyle has been the organizer for several years and will likely retake the reins next year.

“Last year, there was even a spelling bee club,” she explained.

Students met after school once a week just to practice spelling. They learned root words and origins, familiarizing themselves with the different sounds letters can make. Hoyle was full of enthusiasm and excitement for the process.

“Even if there’s just a word that you’ve never heard before,” she said, “sometimes people can just figure out how to spell it, and they surprise themselves.”  

She looks forward to another successful bee next year.