Eighth Grader Emilie Dubiel Wins Spelling Bee


Mr. Crisafi

Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy poses with spelling bee champion Emilie Dubiel (left) and runner-up Joie Rodin.

Eighth grader Emilie Dubiel exhibited “verbomania” in winning this year’s 2019 Benjamin Middle School Spelling Bee. The word, which means “a mania for words, or excessive use of or obsession with words,” according to Google, was pretty ironic seeing that Dubiel had to spell it to win this year’s competition. Dubiel outlasted fellow eighth grader Joie Rodin after several rounds of these two spellers going back and forth. “I did not think I was going to win,” said Dubiel, “but I felt relieved when it was over and done.”

Dubiel won despite the fact that she and Rodin had not studied the final set of words. “I did not know if I could win or not because the list that [Mrs. Devine] started going over, we never saw,” said Rodin.

When Rodin missed “endorphin,” Dubiel correctly spelled “verbomania” and then “eclampsia” (a condition of seizures during a woman’s pregnancy or postpartum period) to claim the crown.

With the win, Dubiel will now compete in the regional spelling bee which will be held at our very own Benjamin Hall on Thursday, March 7. This year’s bee was a fierce competition as it went through 16 rounds, the last five of which had Dubiel and Rodin going toe to toe.

“[This year’s bee] seemed to have a bit of a different atmosphere, that other spelling bees did,” said English Department Chair Mrs. Kathleen Devine, “and I think one of the reasons for that was because students really studied the words this time. They took it more seriously.” Devine  also presided over the bee and was the official pronouncer.

To get to this point, the spellers had to place in the top two during their class bees which were held the week before. In all, there were 26 spellers in grades six through eight on stage in the Barker Performing Arts Center.

Although Dubiel was surprised to win, she has a chance to make it to the national bee in Washington D.C. if she places first at the regional competition.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to do in the regional bee because there are a lot of smart people, and I haven’t studied a lot yet,” said Dubiel, who spoiled the hopes of seventh grader Claire Dinh, the Middle School Spelling Bee champ last year and the Lower School Spelling Bee winner the year before.

“I did not think I could win this year because I did not study as hard this year,” said Dinh. “But it felt really good last year when I won.”

Although many of the contestants feel they didn’t study enough for the school bee, their spelling proved otherwise. Some of the words spelled correctly included “asseveration,” “flambeau,” “execrations,” and “jacquerie.”

“I thought all of the candidates on stage were so well prepared – it made it fun for us all,” said Devine.

Dubiel may have had the most fun, and The Neersyde and the Middle School wish her all the best as she readies herself for the regional bee.