spelling bee winners posing with superintendent and mayor

WEST HAVEN, Conn.E-F-F-I-G-Y was the winning word for 7th grader Ariel Akwada at the 43rd Annual West Haven School District Spelling Bee for grades 5-8 held on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, in the auditorium of the West Haven High School.

Akwada, a finalist from Harry Bailey Middle School Spelling Bee, defeated 11 other competitors to become the West Haven District Champion. He will represent West Haven Public Schools along with the May V. Carrigan Champion, Destiny Davis (grade 5), at the Connecticut statewide competition. This year’s State of CT sponsor will again be at the Noah Webster House Historical Society with the championship scheduled at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford. 

The final results for the West Haven School District Spelling Bee were: Ariel Akwada (District Champion) - 1st place Bailey; Destiny Davis – 1st place Carrigan; JhonMikel Rivera – 2nd place Bailey; Destiny Criscio-John – 2nd place Carrigan; Rae Turowsky – 3rd place Bailey; Arianna Calder – 3rd Carrigan.

The Superintendent of Schools, Neil C. Cavallaro, supervised the event, carefully reading out each of the 111 words used from the 2023 Scripps Spelling Competition List.

Judging the event were veteran spelling bee coordinators Jamey Sitro from Carrigan along with teachers Jennifer Raba and Shayna Zyskowski from Bailey. Assistant Superintendent Judith Drenzek also judged the 80-minute event before a small supportive audience of parents.

The individual school PTA’s awarded $50 and $25 Barnes and Noble gift certificates to their school winners. This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of Ralph Eberle, former PTA Chairperson for West Haven Schools.