Each spring, the WITF Central PA Spelling Bee invites 5th to 8th grade students from 10 surrounding counties to demonstrate their spelling knowledge as they attempt to make their way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Interested schools register with Scripps in the fall and then conduct their own qualifying Spelling Bee at their school. Winners from each of the participating schools compete in a 50 word written test and 50 word vocabulary test held at the WITF Public Media Center. No more than the top 35 spellers participate in the WITF Grand Championship Spelling Bee, an oral spell down which is then broadcast on WITF TV. The winner from that bee qualifies to compete nationally in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Congratulations to Joanna Ye! She is WITF's Grand Champion Speller for the second year in a row!
Joanna was born in China and her family moved to Iowa when she was 18 months old. The family came to Carlisle in 2005. Her father, Yunshan Ye, is a librarian at Dickinson College and her mother, Caiyun Zhao, is a nurse. She has two younger sisters, Julia and Jamie. Joanna also speaks Mandarin and French. If you're wondering what it takes to compete at this level of spelling, consider what Joanna wrote to Scripps before the contest: "I like to read, and am interested in music. I play the flute in concert band, alto saxophone in jazz band (and also in a small jazz combo), and tenor saxophone in marching band. I also like to play tennis. I have received various math awards including the American Math Competition (3rd in the school), and have participated in local science fairs. I also like to write and have won a writing contest (the Hershey Story History Contest, first place fiction). I also like art and won the Pennsylvania Art Education Association Logo Design contest."
Joanna is somewhat of an old pro at the game of spelling. She entered her first bee in fifth grade when she was just 10 years old. To prepare for the Bee, Joanna studied two to three hours on weekdays and put in another two to four hours on the weekends. Now that's determination!
Here are the top ten spellers fromthe 2011 Bee:
#1 Joanna Ye, Lamberton MS, Carlisle Area SD
#2 Aneesha Maini, Lemoyne MS, West Shore SD
#3 Meghan Williams, Yellow Breeches, South Middleton SD
#4 Ryan Nguyen, Swatara MS, Central Dauphin SD
#5 Allison Chambers, Central Dauphin MS
#6 Bethan Kristich, Palmyra MS
#7 Jerin George, Central Dauphin East MS
#8 Benjamin Chu, Central York MS
#9 Julia Hoffacker, Conewago Valley Is, New Oxford SD
#10 Harrison Scott, Greencastle-Antrim MS
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