UNION, NJ – J-E-W-E-l-R-Y kicked off Jefferson School’s 24th Annual Mayor’s Spelling Bee on Friday.

“This is always a special day,” said Township Committeeman Manuel Figueiredo.  “These students are fantastic.  I’m honored to be here presenting the Township Committee.”

This year, Karina DaSilva from Room 301 took first place, and Ryan Rampaul from Room 109 captured second place.

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Twenty-six 5th grade contestants were introduced before the contest.   Jefferson School teacher and event organizer Karen Steiner said the students on stage represented the winners of their classroom spelling bee.  “Contestants have been given the rules and we have practiced the process with them.  They must pronounce the word, spell it, and pronounce it again.”

Cemetery and jealousy were two of the tough words that tripped up some of the contestants in Round 1.

Round 2, with 11 contestants, saw the word unnecessary reduce the number of contestants moving on to Round 3 to seven.

Words precipitation, receive and architecture then reduced the group to three for Round 4.  These three contestants flew through a couple of rounds, all spelling their words correctly, until Round 6 saw the word existence eliminate one. 

The last word in the contest, mysterious, saw second place contestant, Ryan Rampaul, miss, and the winner, Karina DaSilva, correctly spell it.

“It is extraordinary how challenging the words are and how the contestants are truly great spellers," said teacher and event organizer Karen Steiner.