Oak Knoll Tops Middle School Spelling Bee

Oak Knoll students top middle school spelling bee.Two Oak Knoll eighth graders earned first and second place at the New Jersey School Consortium Annual Spelling Bee held at Delbarton School in December. Julia Syzmanski ’24, of Ridgewood, took first place; Rory Weldon ’24, of Summit, took second.

At the Spelling Bee, Oak Knoll entered the competition with four students each on a JV (seventh grade) and varsity team (eighth grade). The Oak Knoll varsity team walked away with the team plaque for earning the most winners in their category, while two OKS eighth graders won first and second place rising above four other middle schools including Oratory Prep, Boulevard, Central School in Stirling and Morristown-Beard.

The OKS varsity students included Syzmanski, who earned first place by spelling the word “bratwurst”; Weldon, who earned second place with the word “verboten”, Cara Dolan ‘24 and Maeve McTernan ’24.

“It was really exciting and surprising to place top two!” Syzmanski said. “It was so nice to share the win with each other as well.”

The OKS JV team included the following seventh graders: Annie Farrell ’25, Michaela Castano ’25, Lauren White ’25 and Cora Laborde ’25.

“This is the first time in many years that Oak Knoll School has placed and won in the Annual New Jersey School Consortium Spelling Bee,” said Janet Mangold, Oak Knoll Upper School English teacher and adviser to the spelling team. “We are so proud of all of them!”

Students were chosen for the competition based upon their weekly lessons and vocabulary bees that the students completed in class. To better prepare for the competition, students studied the Scripps Spelling Bee list for the current year.

The New Jersey School Consortium is an association of 10 area middle schools, both public and private, dedicated to fostering the intellectual, athletic and social growth of middle school-age students.

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