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Laning Student Wins Juniors’ Spelling Bee


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The Junior Woman’s Club of Verona held its annual spelling bee on Saturday, January 28 at H.B. Whitehorne, and 32 fourth- and fifth-grade students turned out to vie for the honor of best speller in Verona.

The ambitious group was gradually reduced to just three participants in Round 10: Maxine Haralambiev, Charles Torikian, and Chloe Mathewson–all current or former Laning Avenue school students. The three continued on until Round 15 when Haralambiev misspelled her word. Torikian and Mathewson went on to battle it out for 10 more rounds, the crowd growing increasingly louder with each round. Then, in round 25, Torikian misspelled “eyewitness” and left Mathewson a chance for the win. She correctly spelled “eyewitness” and the next word, “petite”, sealing first place. Mathewson is a 4th-grade student at Laning and enjoys reading and playing piano and soccer.

Charles Torikian, Chloe Mathewson and Maxine Haralambiev

Joanna Beitenbach, co-president of the Verona Juniors, announced and moderated the event. The judges included Deputy Mayor Bob Manley, Forest Avenue School Principal Jeffrey Monacelli and Adele Spong, also a co-president of the Juniors.

Haralambiev, Torikian and Mathewson will represent Verona at a regional spelling bee on February 25 at the Franklin School Auditorium in Kearny.

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