OJR MS’s Garimella wins Chester County Spelling Bee

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Pictured is Charan Garimella of Owen J. Roberts Middle School, champion of the 2024 Chester County Spelling Bee.

Charan Garimella, an Owen J. Roberts Middle School student, won first place in the 2024 Chester County Spelling Bee on Wednesday, February 7. Garimella spelled his way to victory with the winning word “monotreme” (M-O-N-O-T-R-E-M-E). His victory qualifies him to represent the Chester County region this spring at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, MD.

Also placing in this year’s Chester County Spelling Bee was Luke Spano from Penn’s Grove School, who placed second. Aelita Lutsik from Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School and Aryahi Khale from Valley Forge Middle School tied for third place.

Each student earned the invitation to compete in the Chester County Spelling Bee by achieving first place in their individual school’s spelling bee. Over 40 students competed in the event and spelled their way through more than 200 words. Students prepared for the county competition by studying Scripps-provided word lists and practicing at home.

“I started my preparation a bit early, around the end of October, and practiced one or two hours a day,” said Garimella. “I used a website where I could listen to the word pronunciations, read the definitions, spell them and write them down.”

His practice paid off and now Garimella is qualified to compete at the national level. When asked what advice he would give to future spelling bee participants, he said, “Practice, practice, practice! Starting as early as possible puts you in a better position.”

As champion, Garimella received the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award certificate, a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. The second-place winner received an UpWords board game, the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary a $35 Barnes & Noble gift card, and the third-place winners each received a Scrabble board game and a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card.

“The Chester County Spelling Bee helps participants to hone their linguistic skills while building their confidence in public speaking,” said Jay Della Ragione, special events coordinator for the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU). “It also offers the students a sense of camaraderie. Even though it is an individual competition, the participants encourage each other, whether they move forward or are eliminated.”

The Chester County Spelling Bee is a qualifying competition for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where competitors from across the country gather to spell their way to the top. The 2024 Chester County Spelling Bee was coordinated by the CCIU and sponsored by CCRES.

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