Seventh-Grader Wins Middle School Spelling Bee

What do the words “exposure,” “verdant,” “Riotous,” “scrumptiously,” “austere,” “interminableness” and “pertenacity” all have in common? They were all words used in the Middle School Spelling Bee. Twenty-one students, 18 boys and 3 girls, battled it out for top honors at the Middle School Spelling Bee on January 20. Following 12 rounds of spelling, it was down to two wordsmiths: seventh-grader Landen Walker and fifth-grader Benjamin Hoppe.
In Round 18, Walker won on the words “zamboni” and “dermatology.” Both students will accompany Darlene Ignagni, Middle School Humanities Teacher, to the Area Spelling Bee at Fort Worth Fine Arts Academy on February 4. As runner-up, Hoppe needs to be ready to step up to the challenge if Landen is unable to participate.
Ignagni served as the spelling bee coordinator and pronouncer for the event. The students began practicing their words biweekly beginning in mid-November. Kim Gardner, Middle School Librarian, was on dictionary duty; Jackie Rains, Middle School English teacher, was the official on-stage photographer; and Michael Parker, Middle School math/science teacher, and Kathy Welch, Middle School registrar, were this year’s judges.
“Interestingly, this year’s group was predominately boys,” Ignagni said. “In the National Bee [Scripps National Spelling Bee], which is televised, there is usually a pretty even 50/50 split of girls and boys. I'm proud of all of the participants who attended practices during recess and tirelessly reviewed word lists over the holiday break.”
The National Spelling Bee first started in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a spelling bee. Little did they know that 90 years later their literacy effort would reach 11 million students every year. Last year’s winning words were “Feldenkrais” and “gesellschaft.”
The 21 Middle School spellers this year were:
Fifth Grade
Sheena Gandhi
Benjamin Hoppe
Sixth Grade
Christopher Baker
Liam Callahan
Jordan Cyprian
Temilolu Fabuyi
Eliana Garcia
Jeremy Henderson
Rocco Leoni
Matthew Lobo
David Maberry
Jack Mezey
Will Pakis
Jaiden Patel
David Porter
Luke Rollins
Mohid Sadiq
Seventh Grade
Femi Adedokun
Joaquin Castro-Balbi
Landen Walker
Eighth Grade 
Ethan Hickman
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a K-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.