Published February 7, 2008
The contest is held each year during Catholic Schools Week at the site of the previous year’s champion. This year St. John the Evangelist School served as host of the competition.
Spelling bee contestants qualified for the competition by winning their school’s local bee. Standing in front of an audience composed of parents, teachers, runners-up and archdiocesan and school officials, the field of 19 competitors was slowly narrowed until a champion was declared after 33 rounds of spelling.
Correctly spelling the word “perpetual,” St. Jude the Apostle School fifth-grade student Julia Denniss became the spelling bee champion, ending the 90-plus minute contest. Representing St. Peter Claver School, 7th-grade student Elysa McBean took second place and Kiela Pagsisihan, an 8th-grader from Our Lady of Victory School, placed third.
As the competition progressed the spelling ability of the competitors was only eclipsed by the outstanding display of sportsmanship, fairness and graciousness of each participant.
While the students encountered the daunting task of spelling the challenging words presented to them, the task of ensuring that the bee was conducted in accordance to the rules fell to a panel of judges composed of representatives from Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese. The panel included Angie Owens from Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fairburn, Kevin Kiefer from Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell, and Steve Siler from St. Pius X High School, Atlanta. The caller of this year’s bee was Eric McNaughton from Marist School, Atlanta.