ELIZABETH, NJ – They hooted, they hollered, and in the end the William Halloran School 22 seventh grade team took home the top prize after a nail-breaking, overtime victory at the Eighth Annual United Healthcare Bee at Donald Stewart School 51, May 3.

United Health’s Vice President of Sales Bob Benkert, who performed the Alex Trebeck role in the Jeopardy patterned contest, shook his head saying, “In all my years, I have never had this happen. There has never been a tie.”

United Healthcare Bee was born out the New Jersey Alliance of YMCA’s Seventh Grade Initiative to combat childhood obesity, said the Y’s Alane McCahey. The winning school received $1000 to support school programs that fight childhood obesity, and the second place team was awarded $500. The school with the most team spirit received $250.  

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Six Elizabeth schools participated, William Halloran School 22, Madison Monroe School 16, Benjamin Frankin School 13, Terence C. Reilly School 7, Orlando Edreira School 26, and Elmora School 12. Participation in the Bee required a lengthy commitment on the part of the seventh graders, each of whom received a study packet and were coached by their health and physical education teachers. “We studied for two months,” said Emily Barranzuela, a Halloran student, “Instead of going to recess, we would study.”

The top scorers from two games competed in the final. William Halloran School 22, Madison Monroe School 16, Orlando Edreira School 26, and Elmora School 12 made it to the end with Halloran and Madison Monroe tying the score at 115 points. At a two-minute overtime period, Halloran was victorious, and Madison Monroe declared the second place winner. The Pop Culture Award was given to Benjamin Franklin and the School Spirit Award to Terence C. Reilly.

“I am very proud,” said Halloran Principal Chihui Alfaro. “They really worked hard and so did their teachers. We hope they live by what they learned doing the game.”

Here’s a list of the team members:

Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy 26 Dragons:

Teachers: Lori Abry and Thomas Baranek


Sandra Amigon

Amy Benitez

Diana Domingues

Jadan Harris

Tameesan Miller

Miranda Moncada

Anthony Neyra

Benjamin Franklin School 13 Healthy Hornets

Teacher: Amber Rich


Jahmore Da Cruz

Jason Munoz

Shomar Parker

Oswald Perez

Neilydis Santiago

Elmora School 12 Eagles

Teacher: John Zecchino


Emily Barranzuela

Mark Daniel

Sherlyn Hernandez

Jose Lamela

Daniel Munoz

Allison Tavares

Anday Thaureaux

William F.Halloran School 22 Husky Heroes

Teachers: Melissa Beyruti, Marc Henkel, and Jenna Lougee


Moises Cespedes

Eleni Demoleas

Charles Diaz

Sarah Giraldo

Gabriella Gonzalez

Marcus Gonzalez

Zoe Rivera

Layla Sayed

Madison Monroe School 16

Teacher: Isiah Halsey


Marco Calada

Sofia Gomez

Amanda Gutierrez

Lanique Hodge

Kathryn Jimenez

Xiara Martinez

Yanesty Mercado

Terence C. Reilly School 7

Teacher: Belinda Jimenez


Ciera Calderin

Mya Ching

Thiara Espinal

Andy Lopez

Kevin Machado

Luciana Martinez

Shihab Moral

Aiden Munoz

Christopher Noel

Caleb Prempeh

Carlos Villavicencio