Chelsea Beach Middle School students succeed at the Spelling Bee


The 2021-2022 Chelsea Beach Middle School Spelling Bee Team. photo from Beach Middle School Instagram

Chelsea’s Beach Middle School made a strong return to the big spelling bee competition in southeastern Michigan with sixth and eighth grade taking home first place.

Over the Nov.13-14 weekend, the team made up of sixth, seventh and eighth graders competed in the SEMMLAA (Southeastern Michigan Middle Level Administrator Association) Annual Spelling Bee. The Sun Times News (STN) followed up to see how it went.

Beach Middle School Principal Matt Ceo told STN students from Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Lincoln, Saline, and Pinckney competed this year in grades 6 - 8. He said students were separated into grade levels and the competition matched the Scripp's Spelling Bee in format.

The competition was canceled last year due to the COVID pandemic, so this return marked an important and fun moment for the students, staff and families.

“The kids were excited, as were the adults, to return to some of the traditional events we've had over the last couple of decades,” said Ceo. “Some of our eighth-graders participated in the Bee when they were sixth-graders, so it was fun to return to that memory!”

Here is the team:

6th Grade: Claire Vaquera (Champion), Lillian Nielsen, Henry Kibler (4th place), Parker Westcott (7th place), Sebastian Valdina (8th place)

7th Grade: Caleb Grimm (10th place), Isaac Snyder (6th place), Kyanne Hill, Emily Schaefer, Rowan Burkel (4th place)

8th Grade: Keenan Basar (Champion), Ava O'Brien, Ronan King, Henry Parker, Cameron Watson (9th place)

“We did extremely well! We had two Champions, one in sixth grade, Claire Vaquera, and one in eighth grade, Keenan Basar,” Ceo said. “We also placed many of our students. It was an awesome event!”

To get ready for the Bee, Beach holds grade-specific spelling competitions. Ceo said Kathryn McCalla is their Bee Coordinator, and organizes the event, coordinates with the SEMMLAA host school, and “generally makes the whole thing happen for us.”

For Ceo and others in the school community, the spelling bee is another really great way to see the students compete in areas outside of athletics.

“Many of our students participate in after school activities that are extremely valuable and need a lot of time and attention to hone and perfect,” he said. “This Spelling Bee is representative of those endeavors, and we are so proud of our students for participating and succeeding!”

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