This year's spelling bee lasted a marathon 33 rounds and went beyond the study list provided. Fifth grader Matilda Joels, last year's winner, repeated by correctly spelling fungi in the final round. She will be joined at the zone bee with classmates Miriam Fazio-Vives, who was second, and Vishnu Vardhana, who was third.
A total of 41 fourth and fifth graders participated in this year's bee. They were each given a study list of several hundred words. Early round words included mouthfuls like agricultural, deportment, sheetrock and beatboxing. After round 13, the top three spellers were on the only ones left. The three correctly spelled words like aspersions, nefarious, hokum, carborane, and guanine. The top two were left after 22 rounds, and they got words like jodhpurs, hyperion, dropsonde, diaphoresis and lascaux. (Go ahead and look up those words!) Matilda and Miriam each correctly spelled nine words, most of which were beyond the study list. Matilda won by correctly spelling premiered and then fungi.
Head of School O.J. Morgan read the words to each speller. The judges were Assistant Head of School Christy Lusk, third grade teacher Allie Hyer, librarian Elizabeth Oakes and counselor Rachel Blanton.