Admiral Farragut Academy hosted the Tampa Bay Area Scripps Regional Spelling Bee for the eighth consecutive year over the weekend in what Upper School English teacher Heather Ewing described as the toughest competition yet.
Ammaar Mohammed, 12, from Bayaan Academy in New Tampa, beat out 32 students from the four surrounding counties of the Tampa Bay region, winning with the word valetudinarian (a person who is unduly anxious about one’s health).
He will travel to Washington, D.C., in May to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“This was an impressive group of kids,” said Mrs. Ewing, who has organized and directed the event during its run at Farragut. “There are more and more ways to study and prepare now because of the internet so kids are getting better and better at knowing incredibly difficult words while also being able to perform under pressure.”
Farragut’s Bianca DeSilva came in 7th place.
Riju Datta from Corbett Preparatory School of IDS finished in second place and Sarina Patel from Williams Magnet School came in third.
Mrs. Ewing said the event, which was held in the DeSeta Chapel on Saturday, showcased Farragut’s ability to stage big competitions, highlighting the efforts of Tracy Reilly, who served as a judge and the pronouncer, and Tracy Foley and Valeri Fowler, who were the other two judges.
“The fact that (the E.W. Scripps Company) continues to ask us to host such an important event, the one that precedes the national competition, is a testament to the people we have assisting in the effort,” Ewing said. “To be entrusted with this responsibility says a lot about how we’re viewed in the community.”