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The state's best spellers gather in West Hartford for Connecticut Spelling Bee

Students Compete In Annual National Scripps Spelling Bee
Chip Somodevilla
Charles Fennell of Bloomfield, Connecticut, asks for the stage lighting to change colors before he correctly spells the word "koto" during the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 28, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland. Students from across the country and around the world compete in the spelling competition, which started in 1925.

This Sunday is the sixth annual Connecticut Spelling Bee. According to the organizers of the event, this year’s state-wide spelling bee was one of the largest, with over 13,000 4th through 8th graders competing. Now, after winning their school and town-wide spelling bees, the field has narrowed down to the 52 top spellers in the state.

Alex Gerrish is programs manager for the Noah Webster House in West Hartford, one of the sponsors of the event. He said Noah Webster, whose American Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1828, would have loved this event.

“Webster is someone who really valued words and their meanings, and the correct spelling of them. He wanted to make sure America has a uniform way of spelling,” Gerrish said. “So, to have a state competition that celebrates that, to have kids really giving their all to it, and celebrating the value of spelling and the English language, I think that’s wonderful, and I’m sure Webster would have thought so as well.”

The winner of the Connecticut Spelling Bee will represent the state at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. The state competition begins Sunday at 1 p.m. at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”

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