J-DMS Student Competes at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Logo for Scripps National Spelling Bee. Courtesy of The E.W. Scripps Company

By Contributing Writer Ben Falasco (’24)

A Jamesville DeWitt Middle School student, Simran Sanders, recently competed against a plethora of students around the world in Washington, D.C. at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sanders, 12, advanced to the fifth round out of 15 rounds before getting eliminated. However, this doesn’t take away from her great accomplishment, as not many people can say they went to the National Spelling Bee, let alone advanced to the fifth round.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee took place on Tuesday, May 30. In the first round, Simran correctly spelled the word, ‘cohosh.’ Next, in the second round, she correctly said the definition of the word, ‘abstemious.’ She then continued to spell the word ‘intervener’ in the third round. Finally, in the fourth round, she correctly spelled the word ‘ramellose.’ Sanders was disqualified after incorrectly giving an analysis to the word, ‘enigmatology,’ during the fifth round. Sanders was one of only 121 students who advanced to the fifth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, out of a total of 229 regional spelling championships, in a pool of kids both in the United States and overseas. 

For Sanders, this certainly isn’t the first time she has been on a big stage. In February 2023, Simran won the Post Standard/Syracuse.com Spelling Bee out of about 24 competitors. This resulted in her getting sponsored at the Scripps National Spelling Bee by the Post Standard. “I really couldn’t have done this without my family,” said Sanders. “They stopped their lives to focus on me and my spelling bee journey. My former first-grade teacher, Andrew Palumbo, has tutored me in ELA and spelling bee preparations.” She also gave thanks to Wendy Newman and Jodi Yudin, who are both teachers at J-DMS.

In order to get this far in the Spelling Bee, one could assume there must be a large amount of study time every week. According to Sanders, “I normally study before and after school. Many people believe that cramming means success in the bee. However, really taking the time to understand the etymology of words is very important. Understanding roots is vital to success throughout the bee. Being able to know these can simplify things when you are up on stage. Knowing the rules for different languages of origin is helpful as well.”

There is no doubt that Sanders has a passion for reading and english language arts in general. When asked what her reason was to go into spelling bees like this, she stated, “I have been an avid reader since I was three, and new words always caught my attention. Reading is the key to accomplishment. Keep reading, keep learning.”

Despite all the success, Sanders is still skeptical about continuing to compete at spelling bees during high school, as it may interfere with extracurricular activities. “I have been doing spelling bees since fifth grade, the time that I realized it was an option for me. I am not sure if I will continue into high school, as it may interfere with my other extracurricular activities. However, I am excited about trying other challenges at J-DHS, such as basketball, band, programming courses, Spanish, and school clubs.”

Overall, Sanders made a great accomplishment this May that not very many people can claim. Her early success will, no doubt, help her with whatever she decides to pursue as she moves on in her life.

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