BONSALL – Sullivan Middle School seventh grade student Jessica Kennedy won the school’s Spelling Bee on Jan. 18. The competition featured 30 finalists from among the school’s student body of 500.
Two students from each of Sullivan’s 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes advanced to the finals following in-class competitions. The final round of the competition, presided over by principal Janet Whiddon, took place in the school’s multi-purpose room in front of a full house of students, teachers and parents.
“While we crown one official winner, each of the 30 finalists is a winner,” said Mrs. Whiddon. “It’s hard enough for adults to stand and present in front of a large audience, so for these students to appear on stage and spell these often difficult words before a crowded auditorium is very impressive.”
The spelling competition lasted almost 90 minutes and required more than 10 rounds to whittle the field down to the last four students. By then the students were competing on words that went beyond their study lists. There was added tension and excitement in the auditorium when all four students missed their words and had to return to the stage for another round.
The final round began with Jessica Kennedy spelling “halitosis” correctly. The words “oncologist,” “crocodilian,” and “effervesce” knocked out the last three spellers, leaving Jessica the champion.
Jessica will advance to the San Diego County Spelling Bee on March 27. The event is part of the National Spelling Bee that takes place in Washington D.C. The winner of the San Diego Bee wins an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition.