Gananda 5th Grader Wins Wayne Finger Lakes Regional Spelling Bee

The word was "virgule", pronounced vur-gyool, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means, “a mark / typically to denote ‘or’ (as in and/or), ‘and or’ (as in straggler/deserter), or ‘per’ (as in feet/second).” Richard Mann Elementary fifth grader, Jenna Giles, spelled the word perfectly - and won the Wayne Finger Lakes Regional Spelling Bee to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in National Harbor, Maryland from May 27 through May 30, 2019.

Giles advanced to the regional spelling bee held at Hobart Williams Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY on Saturday, March 23 after winning the Gananda Spelling Bee held on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at Ruben A. Cirillo High School. Her victory in the school spelling bee was nothing short of thrilling as she and fellow sixth grade student, Kierra King, seesawed back and forth round after round. In all, it took a total of 50 rounds to declare a winner.

Giles credits both Scripps online Word Club practice tests and her dad with helping her prepare for the competitions. While spelling may be one of her strong suits, her favorite subjects include math and reading. She indicated the national competition does make her a little nervous as the words can "come from the entire dictionary and not just a list." When asked if she had advice for aspiring spellers, she said, "Try your best, study hard, but have fun with the experience."

If she heeds her own advice, there is no doubt, she will do just fine.