HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- Hasbrouck Heights Middle School student Josephine Kim took first place in the Seventh Annual Hasbrouck Heights Middle School Spelling Bee on Thursday night at Kiefer Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Junior Beta Club. Her final winning word was "Chloroform."

She lasted 11 rounds and 150 words. The seventh grader, who placed third in last year's Bee, will advance to compete in the North Jersey Spelling Bee on March 14 at Bergen Community College, and ultimately has the opportunity to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Eighth grader Joseph Stevens took second place and sixth grader Nathalie De Guzman took third place.

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"It was an awesome night and might have been our best Bee yet," observed Joseph Mastropietro, Hasbrouck Heights Middle School principal. "The Junior Aviators spelling was phenomenal, the judges were amazing, and Mr. Muska was an excellent pronouncer.  I am proud of all thirty students that were on stage tonight. 

"We are very lucky to have a superintendent and Board of Education that supports all of our middle school events."

Judges for the Spelling Bee were Jesse Coffey, middle school Language Arts teacher; Jane Gay, middle school social studies teacher; Patricia Caruso, Board of Education, and Mimi Hui, Director of the Hasbrouck Heights Library. The pronouncer for the evening was James Muska, Beta Club Advisor.

"My advice for Josephine in the next round of the spelling bee is to try to relax, no one gets extra points for spelling words quickly," said James Muska, event organizer. "And the best way to prepare is to keep reading. Book, magazines, newspapers...anything that will expose you to new words you've never seen before. Reading a dictionary would help too, but definitely not as fun."

The competition consists of the top 30 spellers of the entire middle school, as determined by a classroom pretest.. The complete list of finalists is:

Grade 8

Marisa Ackattupathil

Erica Yau

Joseph Stevens

Anthony DiLascio

Malak Ismail

Michael McGurran

Joe Bothe

Kiera Jandongan


Grade 7

Arvin Ackattupathil

Hannah Vadakken

Patrick Lambe

Giuliana Riccobono

Brandon Ochoa

Josephine Kim

Sarah Sedycias

Akhil Chirravari

Tulsi Patel

Alexa Reyes

Davyen Garrett

Grade 6

Nathalie De Guzman

Lilah Swalsky

Alfonsus Agapinan

Michelle Barsoum

Nadja Cuellar

Brandyn Rodrigues

Olivia Bates

Jared Batista

Jasmine Williams

Mackenzie Riordan

Alexandra Monchino

Tessa Reyngoudt


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