On Thursday, February 18, 2016, the Manchester School District held the Middle School Spelling Bee for the city title in Central High School’s McAllister Hall. Prior to this event, each school had held their own spelling bee to determine which student would represent the school at the Scripps National Spelling Bee State Competition in Concord on Saturday, February 27. The top three spellers from grades six through eight were invited to participate in this district wide spelling bee and represent their respective middle schools.
After 16 rounds of spelling, Hillside Middle School eighth grader Aashaya Rajbhandri won the city title. McLaughlin Middle School sixth grader Amir Melkic came in second place, and Southside Middle School eighth grader Vaelen Murphy came in third place.
Rajbhandri said, “It felt great to win. I studied the words in the packet, but I was still very nervous.” She is looking forward to going to the state competition on February 27.
Other students who finished in the top three include:
Hillside Middle School: Logan Gokey, and McKenze McFee-Frechette (absent)
McLaughlin Middle School: Kevin Lopez, Anxhela Zguri
Middle School at Parkside: Jose Mireles-Sparks, Scott Ogden, and Ethan Walls
Southside Middle School: Dennis Kotee, and Jaden Moore (absent)
The school champions, Aashaya Rajbhandri, Amir Melkic, Scott Ogden, and Dennis Kotee, will all be competing in the state competition in Concord. The district spelling bee gave the students some additional practice before the state competition.
John Clayton, Executive Director of the Manchester Historic Association, author, and former journalist for the NH Union Leader, agreed to be the Master of Ceremonies for the competition. Clayton gave each of the contestants a copy of his book, New Hampshire The Way I See It, and congratulated them on being the top three spellers in their schools.
Brendan McCafferty, Principal at Hillside Middle School, Heather Towle, English teacher at McLaughlin Middle School, Jennifer Darby, Guidance Counselor at Middle School at Parkside, and Jenna Edwards, English teacher at Southside Middle School, volunteered to work as judges for the competition.
A few members of the Manchester School District Board of School Committee were in attendance including: Dan Bergeron (Ward 6), Arthur Beaudry (Ward 9), Katie Desrochers (Ward 11), and Connie Van Houten (Ward 12). Patricia Snow, Director of the Innovation Zone, also came to support the students.
Middle School at Parkside Principal Forrest Ransdell said, “We hope to make this an annual event, so next year would be our second annual Manchester Middle School Spelling Bee.”