2015 PSB results…


1st place winner of the 2015 Paris Spelling Bee, Riti Adrija NALUKURTI (CM1/ 4th grade), EIB Victor Hugo International School
1st place winner of the 2015 Paris Spelling Bee, Riti Adrija NALUKURTI (CM1/ 4th grade)

Fourth-grader Riti Adrija Nalukurti won the seventh annual Paris Spelling Bee at the American Library in Paris on Sunday, 15 March, while fifth-grader Alex Le Helloco finished in second place. Both winners attend the École International Bilingue -The Victor Hugo International School. Twenty-one finalists in the fourth to sixth grades (CM1-6ème) vied for the title. During the first 13 rounds of the bee, the contestants were asked to spell words from a study guide of 499 words. Starting in round 14, the pronouncers went “off list” and asked the contestants to spell words that were not from the study guide. In the 24th round, Riti Adrija Nalukurti took the top prize by

spelling “composition” correctly. During the competition, she also correctly spelled: voortrekker, subterfuge, insidious, illusion, altruism, ruckus, inconvenient, triathlon and siege. The second-place winner, Alex Le Helloco, successfully fielded words including:  perestroika, ridiculous, alderman, laboratory, patriarch, unduly, referee and fascinate. Each winner received a trophy and a complimentary annual family membership to the American Library in Paris. Fifth-graders Emma Mieszala, from Lycée International Saint-Germain-en-Laye; Wazeen Karkachi, from École élémentaire Louis Pasteur; and Alex Ravel from École Jeannine Manuel tied for third place. The three spellers lasted through round 17. Fifth-graders Elliot Gampel from École Massillon and Emily Baily from École Jeannine Manuel tied for fourth place in round 17, while Hanif Caesarian, from École International Bilingue – The Victor Hugo International School; Siddharth Chaitra Vivek, from École Jeannine Manuel; and Akanksha Rai, from the International School of Paris tied for fifth place in round 15. “The finalists were well-prepared, poised and they looked like they were actually having a little fun,” said Helen Sahin Connelly, coordinator of the event. The early Sunday morning event began with fresh coffee and tea from Starbucks and snacks and juice from Marks & Spencer. Each contestant took home a medal, a certificate and an American Library in Paris tote bag containing a book and gifts from the Bilingual Connection, Marc Labat, the Bilingual Acting Workshop and Sobral.

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The Paris Spelling Bee is a community enrichment event organized and sponsored by Gifted in France in collaboration with the American Library in Paris. The pronouncers were Library director Charlie Trueheart and Anne Swardson, editor-at-large at Bloomberg News. Words for the Paris Spelling Bee’s Oral Finals were taken from “Spell It!” an official study guide published by the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States in cooperation with Merriam-Webster, Inc. The list is often used in regional spelling bees in the United States and features US spelling. Additional words were taken from Brain Facts Book, A Primer on the Brain and Nervous System. This book is one of the official study guides for the International Brain Bee (IBB), a worldwide neuroscience competition for high school students, which is hoping to start a chapter in Paris. Paris Spelling Bee events will resume in the fall with “Language Comes To Life” workshops for children at the American Library in Paris and a family pizza movie night featuring the film “Akeelah and the Bee.” To sign up for updates about the 2016 Paris Spelling Bee, please email parisfrancespellingbee@gmail.com, or use the ‘contact’ page on this blog. Special thanks to the organizing team: Helen Sahin Connelly, Kim Siew Ngoh, Ashley Miller Benz, Jenny Bateman-Irish, Karen Simpson, Jude Smith Matisse, Pauline Lemasson, Celeste Rhoads, Naida Culshaw, Shannon Connelly and devoted volunteers Laetitia Nail, Jan and Scott Smith, Loretta Fox, Clarence Tokley, Janet Sahin, Amy O’Hara, Julia Connelly and Frank Connelly. Congratulations to each of our 2015 finalists, and to all the students who participated in the Preliminary Written Round in January.


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“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

Results of the Preliminary Written Round – Paris Spelling Bee
26 January 2015 

Seventy-two spellers in grades CM1-6ème (4th-6th grade) packed a gymnasium at the Ecole Sainte Catherine in the 5th  arrondissement early last Saturday morning to participate in the 7th annual Paris Spelling Bee’s Preliminary Written Round.

  • Contestants from over 35 schools (including 20 public schools) in Paris and the surrounding area registered for the Preliminary Written Round. Of the 80 registered contestants, 72 made it to the event.
  • The Preliminary Written Round consisted of 25 words drawn from a study list provided in advance to participants plus 10 words not from the study guide.
  • 21 finalists were selected based on the total number of words that they spelled correctly out of 35.

We would like to congratulate all the students who registered, studied and participated in the Preliminary Written Round.  Each speller received a certificate of participation to acknowledge his/her hard work in preparing for and completing the written round.

Below are the spellers who qualified for the Oral Final Round of the 2015 Paris Spelling Bee. Finalists needed a score of 32/35 to qualify. The Oral Final Round will be held on Sunday, 15 March  2015 (09h00-12h30 approx) at the American Library in Paris.

Finalist for the 2015 PSB Oral Final Round (Gampel, Elliot was mistakenly omitted from the original list)
Finalist for the 2015 PSB Oral Final Round (Gampel, Elliot was mistakenly omitted from the original list)

IMPORTANT: Finalists will have until Thursday, 29 January at 19h00 to confirm by email to parisfrancespellingbee@gmail.com their participation in the Oral Final Round of the 2015 Paris Spelling Bee. They must also pay their registration fees, as indicated on the registration form. 

The deadline for paying the registration fee is Saturday, 31 January.  (Make check payable to Gifted in France, 39 ave de Versailles, 75016; same registration fees apply as for the Preliminary event: 10 euros per child, 7 euros per each additional child in the same family.)

A new study list for the Oral Finals will be sent by email to all finalists by 13 February.

A mock (practice) session will be held for all the finalists on Sunday, 8 February (09h30-11h30 approx.) at the American Library in Paris. At the mock session, finalists will learn useful tips on oral spelling bees, review contest rules and have a chance to meet fellow participants.

As the spellers prepare for the finals, we would encourage them not only to memorize the words, but also to learn their meanings and their origins.

We are grateful to the sponsors of the Paris Spelling Bee! Thank you to the American Library in Paris for generously providing use of the library for the mock and final rounds of the spelling bee, for offering staff support during all phases of the bee and for furnishing supplies. Thank you also to Starbucks for supplying hot drinks and pastries to all the contestants and their parents at the Preliminary Written Round and to Bilingual Connection, for donating the trophies for the spelling bee winners.

A big thank you to the Spelling Bee Team and volunteers for making the Preliminary Round possible: Ashley Miller, Kim Siew Ngoh, Pauline Wong-Lemasson, Karen Simpson, Jenny Bateman-Irish, Naida Kendrick Culshaw, Shannon Connelly, Jude Smith Matisse, Jan Smith and Amy O’Hara in the US. Special thanks to Laetitia Nail and Loretta Fox for managing the registration desk once again on the day of the event. Thanks also to Celeste Rhoads, Minette Juric, Chiew Terrière, Josh O’Donovan and Padma Prat.

Heartfelt thanks also to Mme Florence Dollé, Directrice of the Ecole Sainte Catherine, and her assistant Mme Deletang, for their support of the Bee and the use of the venue.

Last, but not least, thank you to all the parents who brought their children to the Preliminary Round on a cold and early Saturday morning, and patiently waited until the end.

The Paris Spelling Bee is an annual community enrichment event organised by Gifted in France in collaboration with The American Library in Paris.

Helen Sahin Connelly
Coordinator, Paris Spelling Bee

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 2013 Paris Spelling Bee sign and trophies, by Cecilia BaronWelcome to the 7th Annual Paris Spelling Bee (PSB). Registration for the 2015 Bee opens on December 1, 2014. The event is open to English-speaking students currently in CM1-6éme (4th-6th grade). This year, there is only group.

Here are some important dates for your 2014-2015 calendar. Please also see the updated ‘pages’ on this blog for the 2015 Invitation, FAQs and Registration Form. These pages will updated by December 1.


Saturday December 6, 2014 — Language Comes to Life — for ages 8-13: 12h00-13h30, at The American Library in Paris (ALP).  Come learn why it’s good to be friends with prefixes and suffixes in the English language.  Space limited to 12 children. To RSVP, please email Celeste,  ALP’s  youth librarian at rhoads@americanlibraryinparis.org.

Saturday January 10, 2015 — PSB Family Pizza Movie Night: 18h30-21h00, to be held at the ALP.  Join us for the annual screening of the movie Akeelah and the Bee. Pizza and refreshments will be provided by the ALP. The event is free for ALP members. Please RSVP by filling out the required online form, which will be posted here on December 5.  Space is limited to 80 people. Deadline is January 4.


  • 2011 Paris Spelling Bee Oral Finals, Sebastian Macintyre (tied for 3rd place) March 20, 2011December 1, 2014 — Paris Spelling Bee Registration Opens for children in CM1-6ème.  The Registration Form will be posted here on December 1, and emailed to schools, community leaders and anyone interested in signing up. You can email us to request your copy of the form. The Registration sheet must be returned by mail to the address indicated on the form. We do not accept electronic registrations.
  • Tuesday January 13, 2015 — Registration Deadline!! This is the last day to register for the Bee. Forms must be postmarked on or before January 13. Registration is first come first-served, and limited to about 90 applicants.  To add your name or your school’s contact information to our electronic updates, please email parisfrancespellingbee@gmail.com or sign up through the blog.
  • Saturday January 24, 2015 — PSB Written Preliminary Round ––  For registered participants. Tentative time is 09h30-12h30. The location, in the 5th arrondissement, will be provided to registered participants at a later time. Twenty finalists will be chosen to advance to the Oral Finals, which will be held on March 15.  A Study Guide for the Preliminary Written Round will be posted on this page starting December 1, 2014, and emailed to registered participants. Preliminary Written Round consists of about 35 words, most of which come from this Study Guide.
  • IMG_8720Sunday February 8, 2015 — PSB Mock/Practice Session — Tentative time: 10h00-12h00:  This event is organized for finalists chosen from the January 24 Preliminary Written Round.  The Mock Bee (practice session) will be held at the American Library in Paris.  A separate Study Guide for the Oral Finals of the Paris Spelling Bee will be made available to finalists after the Preliminary Written Round.
  • Sunday March 15, 2015 — Oral Finals of the Paris Spelling Bee — Tentative time is 09H30-12h30. This event is open to finalists and their invited guests and will be held at the The American Library in Paris.

To sign up for PSB updates and registration information, or if you have questions about the Paris Spelling Bee, please email Helen Sahin Connelly at parisfrancespellingbee@gmail.com.  The Paris Spelling Bee is organized by Gifted in France,  a non-profit association loi 1901, in collaboration with the The American Library in Paris. PSB is grateful to the ALP for its continued support of this community-wide enrichment event open to children throughout Paris.

ALP Director Charlie Trueheart presents Janis Cavrel with a free annual membership to the library

In the last Paris Spelling Bee, held in 2013, 100 children in grades CE2 through 4ème, from over 40 schools in the greater Paris area, participated in the Preliminary Written Round. Twenty students from each division, Gazelles CE2-CM2 and Cheetahs 6ème-4ème, advanced to the Oral Finals on April 7, 2013. For more information about the 2013 Bee and the winners, please scroll down on this page.

The PSB team took  a year off in 2014, and has returned with a restructured Bee open to students currently in CM1-6éme (4th-6th grade).

Best of luck to everyone entering or following the 2015 Bee. We are very excited about our 7th season!

2015 Paris Spelling Bee Committee

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