Manischa Wijayawardhana, a sixth-grade student at Switzerland Point Middle School won the annual St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Spelling Bee held December 4 at First Coast Technical College CHARACTER COUNTS! Conference Center. She won by spelling the word “ascension” correctly. Manischa is the daughter of Charles and Aloka Wijayawardhana.
It took 12 rounds for the winner to be determined. The participants were congratulated by Deputy Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt, School Board Member Bill Mignon, and Associate Superintendent Dawn Sapp.
Forty-six elementary and middle school students from 31 public and five private schools competed for the honor of representing St. Johns County in the First Coast Regional Spelling Bee scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at Jacksonville University. If for any reason the winner is not able to attend, runner-up Himaschi Wijayawardhana, a fifth-grader from Timberlin Creek Elementary School will represent the county.
The winner of the regional spelling bee will advance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled in May in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rebecca England, SJCSD program specialist for Elementary Language Arts, served as the spelling bee coordinator and the pronouncer was Dr. Carl Williams, professor and chair of the education department at Flagler College. Judges for the event were Jay DiMartino, SJCSD secondary language arts program specialist; Cheryl Freeman, director of the retired and senior volunteer program; and Karen Porter, English language arts K-12 curriculum specialist Flagler County.
The Spelling Bee will be broadcast Friday, December 6 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, December 8 at 11 a.m. on SEA TV channels 99 or 262.