Ajay Sarma, a seventh-grade student at Fruit Cove Middle School, won the 2014 St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Spelling Bee held Wednesday at the School Board Administration Building. He won by spelling the word “gustatory” correctly. Ajay is the son of Srilatha Mahankali and Sundhar Sarma.
Thirty-one elementary and middle school students from 26 public and five private schools competed for the honor of representing St. Johns County in The Florida Times-Union Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, February 15 at the Jacksonville Main Public Library. If for any reason the winner is not able to attend, runner-up Santhya Raman of Timberlin Creek Elementary School will represent the county.
It took 29 rounds for the winner to be determined. The participants were congratulated by School Board Chair Bill Mignon, School Board Member Bev Slough, Superintendent Joseph Joyner, and Deputy Superintendent Martha Mickler.
WFOY Newstalk 102.3 FM broadcasted the spelling bee live and streamed it on their website at http://www.1023newsradio.com/. Media Services also taped the event.
The winner of the regional spelling bee will advance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled in May in Washington, D.C.
Laurie Hays, SJCSD program specialist for Elementary Language Arts, served as the spelling bee coordinator and the pronouncer was Gina Fonseca, SJCSD program specialist for Exceptional Student Education. Judges for the event were Sheila Veatch, SJCSD coordinator for Common Core State Standards; Cheryl Freeman, SJCSD volunteer coordinator and director for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of St. Johns County; and Sandy Waldeis of Catholic Charities.