SPARTA, NJ- On Saturday January 25, the Junior Woman’s Club of Sparta (JWCS) hosted the 19th annual Fifth Grade Spelling Bee.

Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends gathered at the Mohawk Avenue School to show support for the twenty-nine competing students. Students from Hilltop Country Day School, Helen Morgan and Reverend Brown School participated.

The first place winner of the Bee was Akshat Iyer from Helen Morgan School, with Jessica Wilm, from Hilltop Country Day School, taking second place. The third place winner was Gabrielle Ursin from Reverend Brown School.

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Prizes to the winners were generously donated by PNC Bank, Dunkin Donuts, RJ Mars, Villa Capri, Garlic & Oil, The Fieldhouse, Sparta Books, Pope John High School and Sparta Lanes.

Judges for the event were Doug Layman, the Principal from Sparta Middle School, Lyn Gebhard, Branch Librarian at the Dennis Memorial Branch Library, and Jacquelyn Burt, a teacher at Pope John XXIII High School. Anne Karanikas and Michelle Bode led the event for the JWCS, with Karanikas also serving as pronouncer. Sarah Franks served as the event moderator.

JWCS offered special thanks to parents who encouraged their children to participate and to the volunteers who made the event possible. The Junior Woman’s Club of Sparta is proud to support academic excellence in Sparta by sponsoring events such as the Spelling Bee.

All three winners will go on to represent Sparta at the Northern Regional Spelling Bee, with winners at the district level going on to compete at the State Championship in early March at the headquarters of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs.