EDISON — Nearly 200 children aged 6-11 and their families volunteered to go back to school on a beautiful afternoon last Saturday, April 30. But it was for a great cause. They were taking part in the first Edison Town-Wide Spelling Bee, held at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, and organized by Friends of the Edison Public Library to raise funds for the township’s libraries, which have been hit hard by recent budget cuts.
Graham Gudgin, president of the all-volunteer organization which was established almost 50 years ago, said, “Edison’s elementary schools and these kids’ parents should be very proud. Our biggest problem was that so many of the participants were such great spellers that they were getting perfect scores, which meant that we had several lengthy tie-break situations!”
Winners of the event in the Junior Division (grades 1-3) were: 1st – Danielle Dick, 2nd – Vivek Rallabandi, 3rd – Bela Khanna. In the Senior Division (grades 4-5), the winners were: 1st – Edward Hu, 2nd – Samuel Chen, 3rd – Joyce Wang.
“Krithika Varagur, a senior at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, approached the Friends of the Library late last year with the idea of sponsoring a spelling bee for elementary school-aged children,” Gudgin said. “Supporting children’s’ literacy while at the same time raising money for our libraries seemed like an opportunity too good to miss.”
Running an event like this takes a lot of work by many volunteers. Jessica Levin, who emceed for the bee, said, “I was happy to be involved in the Spelling Bee. I believe in the work of the Friends of Edison Library and supporting education for children is important for community growth. The bee was so well-run and more importantly, the kids had a great time. It was great to see them so excited about something educational.”
Danielle Dick took first place in the Junior Division of the first Edison Town-Wide Spelling Bee.
Edward Hu, winner of the Senior Division of the first Edison Town-Wide Spelling Bee, receives his medal from Graham Gudgin, President of Friends of the Edison Public Library.
(Photos courtesy of Friends of the Edison Public Library)
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