HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- Hasbrouck Heights Middle School student Josephine Kim took first place in the Eighth Annual Hasbrouck Heights Middle School Spelling Bee on Wednesday night at Kiefer Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Junior Beta Club. Her final winning word was "levees." Kim also won the 2019 HHMS Spelling Bee.

She lasted 11 rounds again this year. The eighth grader will advance to compete in the North Jersey Spelling Bee on March 10 at Bergen Community College, and ultimately has the opportunity to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.

Seventh grader Olivia Bates took second place, eighth grader Arvin Ackattupathil took third place, and Hannah Vadakken was fourth.

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This isn't the first time a student was repeated as the spelling champ. Linda Kalna won back to back HHMS spelling bees in 2015, when she also won the North Jersey Championship and competed in the national bee in Washington, D.C., and 2016.

Judges for the Spelling Bee were Jesse Coffey, middle school Language Arts teacher and Junior Beta Club co-Advisor; Patricia Caruso and Lori Cintron, Board of Education, and Mimi Hui, Director of the Hasbrouck Heights Library. The pronouncer for the evening was James Muska, Beta Club Co-Advisor.

Joseph Mastropietro welcomed the audience and gave a brief history of the school's spelling bee, acknowledging "the support of the Beta Club and Junior Woman's Club," when holding its first spelling bee in January 2013.

"Remember to have fun and try your best," he told the students. "I would like to congratulate each of you for participating in tonight's Bee. Please remember you are all achievers. It is important for you to feel proud of yourselves for being one of the top spellers in our school." 

The competition consists of the top 28 spellers from the entire middle school, as determined by a classroom pretest. The complete list of student spellers is:

Grade 8

Arvin Ackattupathil
Hannah Vadakken
Patrick Lambe
Sribhavya Adusimilli
Josephine Kim*
Sarah Sedycias
Akhil Chirravuri

Grade 7

Nathalie De Guzman
Lilah Swalsky
Michelle Barsoum
Nadja Cuellar
Brandyn Rodrigues
Olivia Bates
Seamus Baker
Aditya Vij
Anishka Chauhan
Cecelia Alvarez

Grade 6

Isabella Gonzalez
Clara Pietri-Munoz
Matthew Haines
Parishay Syed
Carter Spittle
Ryan Barrero
Eunice Kim
Ethan Aydelott
Kayleigh Migrino
Seher Mahajan
Emma Thomas

Former Hasbrouck Heights past champions are:

2013: Anik Subramanian

2014: Tejasi Thool

2015: Linda Kalna* (North Jersey Champion)

2016: Linda Kalna

2017: Donald Mason

2018: Andrea Durham

2019: Josephine Kim 


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