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Champions Crowned at GFFE Kids' Spelling Bee

The Guilford Fund for Education (GFFE) awarded trophies to four new Spelling Bee Champions on September 17th at the Guilford Fair. Forty spellers in grades three through six from AW Cox School, Melissa Jones School, Guilford Lakes School, Calvin Leete School and Baldwin Middle School competed for their grade’s best speller title in this Guilford tradition that has lasted for more than forty years. Jeffrey Hahn and Peter Palumbo served as hosts and emcees for the event.

The first round of competitors were the third graders! It was clear that these kids were some super-spellers as they had to spell words like ‘pulley’, ‘straight’, ‘audience’, and ‘partition’. One of the most difficult words proved to be ‘Wyoming’ - particularly because the kids had to remember to specify that the ‘W’ was capitalized! Beckett Ford of Calvin Leete School ended up winning this round with the word ‘believe’. Beckett was accompanied by other third grade finalists Clifden Kilkelly, Misha Fopeano, Max Grubagh, Emma Connellan, Lilliana Cripe, Monica Celi Colunga, Wanyun Tian, Austin Payette, Jackson Payette, Luke Bartek, Remy Swiantek and Floralee Berry.

Then it was on to the fourth graders and their words proved challenging as well (of course!). They had to spell words like ‘limousine’, ‘civilian’, and one of the hardest proved to be ‘Connecticut’. ‘Connecticut’ was so tough that no one in the round got it right - giving all of the remaining kids a second chance to win - and showing why it’s important to never give up! Brecken Baker of Melissa Jones School ended up winning with the word ‘causeway’. The other fourth grade finalists were Sarah Bilal, Lucas Furguson-Cormier, Ethan Tyre, Eleanor Brodersen, Gage Slubowski, Kenzie Mohamed, Catherine Jampierre, Ella Jones, George Donnelly, Caroline Keating, Elvire Hugon-Delisle, and Lindsay Young.

The fifth graders were next and showed their spelling prowess with words like ‘frightening’, ‘abrasive’, and ‘hopscotch’. As with the fourth grade round, there was a word so tricky no one got it right - ‘accumulate’ - so the remaining contestants in this round got a second chance as well! Fifth grade champion Myles Jones won the round with the word ‘heiress’. He competed against classmates Lexi O’Connell, Joy Tang, Russell Clune, Olivia Warburton, Lily Ridge, Fitz Pant, and Cal Taylor.

The final round consisted of the sixth graders and they spelled ‘persuasion’, ‘embarrass’, and ‘dungeon’ with ease - though ‘environment’ was a bit more challenging! Rory Fissell successfully spelled ‘hyphen’, thereby winning this round. The other sixth grade contestants were Jaxon Squires, Lida Zinchuk, Luke Cashman, Anthony Franco, Mila AbuGhazaleh and Emilio Parese.

The Spelling Bee was made possible through sponsorships from Breakwater Books, LaFata & Son Excavating, ML Weekes Certified Public Accountants, Carmax, Dobie & Rollins Orthodontics, DocuPrint Now, Guilford Courier, Palumbo’s Automotive and Teape Training International. Photos from the event can be seen at and videos of the event are up on the Guilford Fund for Education Facebook page.

We hope to see all of you at GFFE’s next event: the Family Trivia Bee on Friday, November 4th. Go to the events tab at for more information on the event, sponsorships, and other ways you can support our organization!

Guilford Fund For Education (GFFE) is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that gives educators and students an avenue to explore, experiment, and bring fresh educational ideas and experiences to youth by funding proposals which fall outside of an organization’s budget. Please consider making a donation to further enhance GFFE’s mission.

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