The eighth-grader competed against the state's top 13 spellers in a virtual ''spelldown," which lasted about 2 and 1/2 hours and 10 rounds.
That is what one Connecticut student is spelling after being crowned the Connecticut Spelling Bee Champion.
This year, like so many other events, the spelling bee was held virtually between the state's 14 top spellers ranging from third grade to eighth. To qualify, students had to be the winner of their school-wide spelling bee.
The "spelldown" lasted about 2 1/2 hours and 10 rounds until Bloomfield's Carmen Arace Middle School eighth-grader Charles Fennell won it all.
Fennell began competing in CT Spelling Bee in 2018. He became interested in spelling after seeing the movie "Akeelah and the Bee" while he was in third grade. In 2019, Fennell made the news after giving himself a short amount of time to spell his word during the National Bee.
The event pronouncer was Amy Goldstein Simkovitz, a senior editor at ESPN and former Scripps National Spelling Bee speller, Professor Sharon Ware, Assistant Professor of Special Education and Director of the Literacy Internship Program at the University of Saint Joseph, and Jeremy Bond, Editor at Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center served as judges. The museum’s Director of Education, Beth Sweeney, was the bee’s record keeper.
For the final word, Fennell spelled "cataphora" to win the title of CT Spelling Bee champ of 2021. Fifth-grader Hayden Hughes of Hughes Home School tied Sedgwick Middle seventh-grader Adam Pendergrass for 2nd place. East Lyme Middle School fifth-grader was the third-place finisher.
For those wondering, cataphora is a noun and is the use of a grammatical substitute (such as a pronoun) that has the same reference as a following word or phrase
Fennell will represent Connecticut at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, with portions of the event being virtual. Scripps did announce there would be an in-person bee in Florida during July of the country's top 10-12 spellers. A group that we all hope Fennell will be among.