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.
“Exhilarating… fun… competitive.” Just a few words spellers used to describe the 2013 witf Central PA Spelling Bee. For the fourth year in a row, witf produced the event, which was held at the Public Media Center on February 24, 2013.
The bee touches the lives of many Central PA middle school students. In 2013, 150 students from 66 schools in central Pennsylvania qualified to participate in the written bee, which was held at the witf Public Media Center in January of 2013. The students who scored highest on the 100-word test qualified to participate in the oral spelling bee.
In addition to an event for the friends and families of the spellers — the oral bee is also a television production. Over the span of a week, the Greenwald Television Studio at witf is transformed into a spelling bee set complete with lights, cameras, microphones and seating for a 70-member audience.
In 2013, the oral spelling bee lasted 19 rounds. It was silent in the studio after Krittika Negandhi, a seventh grader from Good Hope Middle School in Cumberland Valley, misspelled the word “facilely.” The only speller remaining on stage, Aparajita Rao, looked confident and serious as she stood on stage poised to spell what would be the winning word at the 2013 witf Central PA Spelling Bee. Inside, the seventh grader from St. Joan of Arc School in Hershey was actually a ball of nerves.
“It’s a lot of luck and I didn’t really know that I’d be this lucky,” she said in an interview following the bee. Although Aparajita still appeared quite serious during the interview, a smile escaped the corners of her mouth, giving her excitement away.
Don’t forget to follow the witf Central PA Grand Champion Speller, Aparajita, in the Scripps National Spelling Bee! She’ll be speller number 210.
Published in Spelling Beeback to top