January 29, 2014 at 10:14 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ – Mira Mehta, a fifth grader at Wilson Elementary School, took home top honors at the Junior Woman’s Club of Westfield’s 28th annual spelling bee final Wednesday night at Westfield High School.
Placing second and third, respectively, were Amber Nanaj, a fifth grader at Franklin Elementary School, and Sofia Regencia, a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary School.
Mira’s winning word was “dishonest.”
After the competition, a smiling Mira said she felt “really happy” with her accomplishment. She prepared for the spelling bee by studying the practice word list provided by the woman’s club,
But, she said, spelling isn’t all hard work for her.
“I don’t know, it’s just fun,” said Mira, who also loves reading and particularly enjoys mysteries.
The top three finishers now advance to the district competition on Feb. 22 where they will spell against students from Cranford, Rahway, North Plainfield, South Plainfield and Scotch Plains.
Twenty fourth and fifth graders competed in the spelling bee final on Wednesday, after making it through preliminary rounds on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Initially, 81 fourth graders and 51 fifth graders turned out to spell in the first rounds, spelling bee organizers said.
“We were thrilled with the amount of kids that came,” said Erica Link, who served as chairperson of the event along with Samantha Altieri. “They were all really supportive of each other, which was wonderful to see.”
The 20 finalists who competed Wednesday night are:
Fourth grade: Ryan Rubel, Ally Baker, Phoebe Standfest, Melissa DiDario, Vivian Jeckell, Kayla O'Brien, Isabel Thompson, Sofia Regencia, Sydnee Goulet and Eden Wilcomes.
Fifth grade: Ralphie Carrero, Amber Nanaj, Maya Varkey, Liam Henderson, Maeve Collins, Ellie Tuller, Mira Mehta, Maxwell Scialabba, Sophia Nazzaro and Graham Barton.