After 23 rounds in this afternoon's Grades 5-8 Spelling Bee, Grade 8 student Erik Williams came out victorious for his fourth consecutive year. Though his competition gave him a run for his money, notably Grade 7 students Wyatt Hollingsworth and Alyssa Walker, Williams will continue on to next month's county-wide spelling bee with Hollingsworth as the alternate.
Covering words such as bison, lento, Scandinavia, fortran, and scuttlebutt, the spellers proceeded quickly through the rounds. At the start of Round 10 only five participants remained (Wyatt Hollingsworth, Leo Naude '27, Shane Reaves '25, Alyssa Walker, and Erik Williams) when the spellers went off-list. At this point, all the words given to them in advance to study had been used and from that round on the word list was pulled from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
At Round 15 the spellers were down to just Hollingsworth, Walker, and Williams, and Ms. Rachel Robison reiterated the end-of-bee protocols: After a speller missed a word, the opponent would still have to spell one more word in order to be named champion. Walker fell on foolscap and, in Round 23, Hollingsworth stumbled on distillery. Williams correctly spelled abyss to win the title.
"I'm so impressed with all of these students," said Head of Middle School Jackie Lentini. "They were focused, determined, mature, and extremely supportive of their classmates. It was wonderful to have them all here on campus together—parents, students, faculty, and staff—and we are excited for Erik as he once again represents St. Johns at the County Bee."
Congratulations to all of the participants, who each won Grade-level bees earlier in the year in order to advance to this School Bee:
Representing Grade 5:
Representing Grade 6:
Representing Grade 7:
Representing Grade 8:
* Note: An earlier version of this article stated that this year was Erik's third consecutive spelling bee win. It is his fourth. St. Johns regrets the error.