Sam Coleman wins WJHS Spelling Bee

Post date: Jan 22, 2020 1:15:10 PM

Wells Junior High School 8th grade student Sam Coleman emerged the top speller in this year’s Wells Junior High School Spelling Bee held on January 15th. An equally excellent speller, 6th grader Jacob Ouellet, achieved runner-up status.

Students from 5th through the 8th grade classes were eligible to compete with their peers and become one of the 12 finalists (three from each grade) in this contest held before an audience of students, school staff and parents in the Ward Gymnasium.

WJHS teachers Julie Esch and Marilyn Zotos were the spelling bee organizers. “The spellers all rose to the challenge,” commented Esch who teaches English and Language Arts (ELA). “What a fun event for all.”

“This spelling bee was the best in my 15 years of being involved in it,” said Zotos who also teaches ELA. It was really a battle right to the end. It was very exciting. And as I said earlier (to the audience), it’s just as exciting as an athletic event.” She indicated that she was encouraged by the performance of the Bee’s contestants in an era where teachers have to compete with “texting” in teaching proper spelling. “We need to fight for spelling,” she added.

“Really good,” said Jacob Ouellet about participating in the contest. He admitted, however, that he was worried about the outcome but concluded, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” All 12 contestants displayed a show of spelling talent with none being eliminated for many of the earlier rounds.

Judges included Esch, Zotos, Mary Rand, Cheryl Turner, Laney Yeomelakis, Sarah Downs and Angela Bishop. Esch and Zotos also alternated as announcers.

Sam Coleman ─with Jacob Ouellet as back-up─ will now compete in the York County Spelling Bee which takes place February 4th at Biddeford Middle School at 3:00 p.m. The winner of that contest will move on to compete in the Maine State Spelling Bee on March 21, 2020. The 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee will begin on May 24, 2020 in Fort Washington, Maryland. The main prize for first place at that level is $50,000.

In the photo are this year’s finalists in the 2020 WJHS Spelling Bee. In the back row (left to right) are Gabe Ordway, Evan Belanger, Derek Lippe, Eli Potter, Bobby Lucas, and Bee winner Sam Coleman. In the front row (l to r) are Ainslie Donovan, Cole Gauthier, Ahlaya Coombs, Damian Cry, Amelia Connor, and runner-up Jacob Ouellet.

At the microphone is 8th grade student Sam Coleman who won this year’s WJHS Spelling Bee on January 15th.