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Annual Spelling Bee

picture of WES spelling bee champpicture of WES spelling bee contestants

2017 Spelling Bee Champion fifth grader Jovanni George smiles after spelling a word correctly earlier in the competition. All spellers who participated in the Bee received a certificate and a pin. Jovanni and runner-up Shannon Skawinski, center, hold their trophies.

WES crowns 2017 spelling bee champ 


Fifth-grader Jovanni George knows how tough the competition can be in the annual Watervliet Elementary School Spelling Bee. As a fourth-grade student last year, he battled through about 20 rounds before earning a second place finish. 

To win the competition this year, now fifth-grader Jovanni was tasked with spelling “peculiar” as his final word. Perhaps he should have spelled the word “persevere” instead because that is exactly what he did to win the 2017 title after a hard-fought 23 rounds!

Jovanni, who is a student in Jennifer Swyer’s class, competed on Friday, January 13 with 11 other students from grades 4-6, including this year’s runner up Shannon Skawinski. The sixth-grader proved to be tough competition through 22 rounds before Jovanni correctly spelled “peculiar,” an adjective that means strange or odd, unusual.

With that, he will go on to represent Watervliet at the Capital Region Spelling Bee in March at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady.

Overall, 12 students advanced to the school-wide spelling bee, after being successful in individual classroom spelling competitions held earlier. The spellers included:

bullet graphicZack Nixon, grade 4

bullet graphicJames Tice, grade 4.

bullet graphicTrevor Holloway, grade 4

bullet graphicEvelyn Delap, grade 4

bullet graphicCassie Zawistowski, grade 5

bullet graphicKumail Haider, grade 5

bullet graphicJovanni George, grade 5

bullet graphicNeveah Blandin, grade 5

bullet graphicSierra Plunkett, grade 6

bullet graphicXavier Lewis, grade 6

bullet graphicShannon Skawinski, grade 6

bullet graphicJordan Harvey, grade 6

Congratulations to all who competed!