Could you spell “interminableness”? How about “potentialities” or “prostidigitation”?
Well, the three winners of last month’s Secaucus Middle School spelling bee sure can.
“It feels good,” said sixth grader and local winner Saloni Singh, 11. “Like I’ve achieved something that’ll help me later on in life.”
The middle school enrolled in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee program, allowing them to hold their own version at their campus. Multiple schools throughout the county also applied, sending their victors to the 58th annual Hudson County Spelling Bee—essentially a regional version--earlier this month. Though Saloni competed in the Hudson County Bee, she placed sixth, meaning she will not be able to represent the county at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland this spring.
“I always think I was good at it. I just like to win.” -- Khushi Jakhotiya
She had previously won bees in first and second grade.
“I always think I was good at it,” said Khushi Jakhotiya, 12, a seventh grader who placed second in the competition. “I just like to win. I’m happy.”
An avid reader, Saloni said she would love to pursue a career involving words. “I like writing,” she said. “So I’d like to do something with that.”
Khushi, however, has other plans for her future. “I do like reading, but I want to study science in college,” she revealed.
Just like her colleague, Aashi said she loves reading and writing, but would prefer another career field. “I’m not sure yet, but I would probably want to do something in the field of math, or language arts, because those are my favorite subjects,” she said.
“I’m very proud of them,” said Sarah Sciscilo, one of Secaucus Middle School’s counselors and the announcer for the middle school bee. “I got to see Saloni in the Hudson County spelling bee. She was one of the last finalists. But all of them were great; they were so impressive.”
Sciscilo will encourage the girls to continue competing. “Definitely,” she said. “They compete with seventh and eighth graders. So it’s just one spelling bee. I intend to keep encouraging them.”
On Feb. 16, the Secaucus Board of Education honored the girls with their own certificates of commendation for their victories. According to the Scripps website, the bee, which began in 1925, aims to help students nationwide improve their spelling, improve their vocabularies, and develop proper English usage for later in life.
The national bee can often be watched on TV or via the internet.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org