Ryan Himmelsbach, a 7th grader at Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket, NY, is the champion of the sixth Hofstra Long Island Regional Spelling Bee held today, February 12, at The Helene Fortunoff Theater at Hofstra University.
Ryan’s winning word was “requiem.” Other words he spelled correctly in the final rounds were “hamate” and “flautino”. The Bee went 11 rounds and approximately three hours before Ryan was announced as the winner. He will now represent Long Island at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, MD, May 28-June 3.
First runner up in the competition was Kevin Chabla from the Springs School in East Hampton, who made it to round 10 with the word “menagerie.” Rounding out the final six spellers in the competition were Valencia Hopkins of Lawrence Road Middle School in Hempstead; Maitreyi Sinha from James Wilson Young Middle School in Bayport; Kimberly Cotrel of Dayton Avenue School in Manorville; and Alex Gao of the Abbey Lane School in Levittown.
The Hofstra Long Island Regional Spelling Bee started on February 5 with 133 4th-8th graders from schools throughout Nassau and Suffolk County. These students, winners of their local school bees, took the written exam portion of the competition. The 48 students who qualified for today’s spelldown scored in the approximate top third of the test takers.
The spelldown is the staged match where a panel of judges gives the students words to spell aloud. The contestants were eliminated when they misspelled a word, and the competition continued until one speller remained.
Hofstra Associate Professor of Writing Studies and Composition and Associate Director of the Digital Research Center Ethna Lay served as head judge. Jeffrey Morosoff, Associate Professor of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations, read the words and answered questions about their definitions and languages of origin. Assistant Professor Yvonne Stephens and Associate Professor Lisa M. Dresner, both of the Department of Writing Studies and Composition, served record keeper and as the ringer, respectively.
Hofstra extends special thanks to The Scripps Company, Merriam-Webster Inc., and Encyclopedia Britannica for their support of the competition.