Home Marlton News Fifth graders advance at 2020 Marlton Women’s Club Spelling Bee

Fifth graders advance at 2020 Marlton Women’s Club Spelling Bee

Ethan Carver, Manthan Mehta and Srinidhi Gogineni will compete in the Garden District Spelling Bee in Haddonfield on Feb. 9.

The three winners from the Marlton Woman’s Club Spelling Bee pose with spelling bee moderator June Adair and their certificates. From left, first place winner Ethan Carver (fifth grade, Rice); second place winner Manthan Mehta (fifth grade, Jaggard); third place winner Srinidhi Gogineni (fifth grade, Jaggard) and alternate Dylan Cataldi (fifth grade, Jaggard). The top three winners will advance to the District Spelling Bee at Haddon Fortnightly in Haddonfield on Sunday, Feb. 9.

The competitors walked into the gym at J. Harold Van Zant Elementary School, ready for this year’s tournament. They had been practicing diligently and improving their skills.

As start time neared, some found a corner for last minute practice. Some were chatty, others pensive, others excited. Parents, siblings and teachers looked on from the stands as competitors all took to the gym floor with one goal – to outlast the competition and become the champion.

The spelling bee champion.

On Jan. 8, fourth and fifth grade students from across Evesham participated in the sixth annual Marlton Woman’s Club’s Spelling Bee. An all-time record high of 77 students had registered for this year’s event. Fourth and fifth graders from all Marlton elementary schools were eligible.

Foregoing the warm-up practice round due to the large number of competitors, students walked to the microphone (itself daunting for this age group) and were provided a word to spell. Words began in simpler forms (poem, Vermont, accused, lettuce) and escalated to more difficult words like turquoise, receipt, loneliness and whiskers. Capital letters needed to be pronounced on proper nouns, competitors could not try again if they made an error, and all were encouraged to speak in clear, slow voices. Winners advanced, while those who missed their attempt did not.

As the rounds continued (several without any competitor failing) and difficulty increased, finalists slowly emerged … fifth graders Ethan Carver (Rice), Manthan Mehta (Jaggard) and Srinidhi Gogineni (Jaggard) each had successfully spelled every word. Then a misstep by Gogineni left just Mehta and Carver standing. The two battled each other, both missing the provided word, and therefore staying in the competition. Tension mounted through several rounds of both spellers correctly spelling their words before Mehta incorrectly spelled his attempt. Carver spelled that word correctly to remain in the competition, then was given one final word to spell correctly to win. Carver slowly and correctly spelled l-i-l-i-e-s to applause and the title of 2020 Spelling Bee Champion.

First, second and third place winners received gift cards to Barnes and Noble, and the top three finishers (Carver, Mehta and Gogineni) will advance to the Garden District Spelling Bee, sponsored by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs. The District Bee will be held on Sunday, Feb. 9 in Haddonfield. The alternate is Dylan Cataldi, a fifth grade student from Jaggard Elementary.

The spelling bee is a sponsored event of the NJSFWC, of which the Marlton Woman’s Club is a member. Women’s clubs throughout New Jersey hold local spelling bees as part of the organization’s focus on education.  Winners advance to regional and state competitions.

For more information on the Marlton Woman’s Club visit www.marltonwomansclub.com.

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