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Rumson Country Day School Fifth Grader Headed to Regional Spelling Bee

Blythe Lander will compete next at Monmouth University in March.

RCDS students Blythe Lander, Kate Swikart and Sally Thomas after the school's spelling bee (Photo: RCDS)
RCDS students Blythe Lander, Kate Swikart and Sally Thomas after the school's spelling bee (Photo: RCDS)
In a word — chancellor — a Rumson Country Day School fifth grader is headed toward a chance at national spelling championship.

In the final moments of a lightning round at the RCDS Spelling Bee, fifth grader Blythe Lander spelled the word chancellor correctly, making her 2014 school champion who is now headed to a regional bee at Monmouth University.

If she wins the regional bee, she will represent New Jersey in a national competition in May in Washington D.C. which will be televised by ESPN.

But rewind to the competition that won her the school-level title as top speller. Lander battled it out with runner-ups Kate Swikart and Sally Thomas, both seventh graders. "The audience of students, families and friends held their breath as contestants spelled uncommon and difficult words in a high-pressure environment," a release said.

This is the seventh year that Upper School students have competed in grade-level bees for the chance to participate in a school-wide bee. This past November and December produced 18 finalists from grades 5 to 8. The following students correctly spelled their words in two or more rounds, qualifying them to move on to the school-wide competition: eighth graders Dom Gangemi, Conor Kelly, Elizabeth Klemm, Peter Marangos and Paul Thomas; seventh graders Sammy Lyle, Michael Page, Sally Thomas, Elias Economou, Nina Baugh, Lizzie Sullivan, and Kate Swikart; sixth graders Ava Clark, Zach deMello, Lizzie Huesman and Noelle LeLand; fifth graders Josh Harmon, AnaLisa Mazzei and Ty Whittemore and Lander.

"I love this competition because it is a chance for kids to support their peers in an academic challenge rather than an athletic one," said Upper School English teacher Ann Murdock, who also served as moderator of the event. 

As school champion, Lander’s name will be added to the RCDS Spelling Bee plaque that graces the interior hallway off the school’s main hallway, known as the school's Main Street. She qualifies will head to the regional bee at Monmouth University on March 17 and 18.


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