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Trumbull Students Test Spelling Smarts for a Cause

Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA’s spelling bee raises financial aid for local families.

Trumbull Students Test Spelling Smarts for a Cause Trumbull Students Test Spelling Smarts for a Cause Trumbull Students Test Spelling Smarts for a Cause

When asked to spell the word “faucet,” student Maria Griffin was far from feeling the typical spelling bee stress. In fact, she even seemed to be having fun.

“Oh, that’s easy,” she said, beaming, and went on to spell the word correctly.

Spelling words like “extravagant,” “receive,” and “faucet” was a breeze for the Trumbull students who competed in the recent 3rd Annual Spelling Bee.

Thirty-nine third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from the Trumbull-Monroe area battled it out for top honors at the bee, which took place earlier this month at Chalk Hill School in Monroe.

The students, some of whom were YMCA members, had sold tickets to the bee to raise funds for the Y’s annual Strong Kids Campaign. The campaign’s stated mission is to make sure that no child or family is turned away from Y programs if they are unable to pay.

The evening’s contest ran for two-and-a-half hours and featured lots of tension-building back-and-forth exchanges between contestants, who hailed from Trumbull, Monroe, Shelton, and Easton.

The longest spell-off of the evening was for third place in the third grade division. A twenty-minute spell-off eventually ended in victory for Aldo Espino of .

Trumbull resident Phil Lane, a professor of economics at Fairfield University, served as the bee’s master of ceremonies. By 8:20 p.m., with the bee’s allotted two-and-a-half hours almost up, there were at least four students still standing at each grade level.

Lane hammed it up, pretending to be frustrated with the length of the bee. When the word “exhausted,” came up, he offered as his sample sentence, “This spelling bee is going on for a really long time, and I am exhausted.”

In the end, six out of the nine top spelling honors were taken by Trumbull students, and all three top fundraisers per grade were from Trumbull as well.

According to Meaghan Ballard, the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA’s Camp and Childcare Director, the children had fundraising goals of $50, $75, or $100 and asked family, friends, and others to become sponsors by purchasing the event’s $50 tickets.

Every year, Ballard said, the spelling bee raises thousands of dollars to go to low-income families in the Trumbull-Monroe area so they can take part in the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA’s fitness, activity, sports, childcare and camp programs and use the wellness center there. This year continued that charitable tradition.

To donate to the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA’s branch of the Strong Kids Campaign, call 203-777-9622 or go to http://www.cccymca.org/make-a-difference/give. To find out how to become a member of the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA, call 203-445-9633or go to  http://www.cccymca.org/locations/lakewood-trumbull.


3rd Grade

  • 1st place: Melina Roberto, Shelton/Mohegan
  • 2nd place: Kenneth Okoroafo, Trumbull/Frenchtown
  • 3rd place: Aldo Espino, Trumbull/Frenchtown

4th Grade

  • 1st place: Vinay Sankar, Shelton/Elizabeth
  • 2nd place: Frank Dorsey, Trumbull/Frenchtown
  • 3rd place: Robert Goldstein, Trumbull/

5th Grade

  • 1st place: Ali Behzadi, Trumbull/
  • 2nd place: Maria Griffin, Trumbull/Middlebrook
  • 3rd place: Emma McCarthy, Monroe/Monroe Elementary


  • 3rd grade: Luke Samoskevich, Trumbull/Frenchtown
  • 4th grade: Jashua Dubreuil, Trumbull/
  • 5th grade: Brooke Hass, Trumbull/Tashua

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