BRAINTREE (March 18, 2019): Forty-three students from 11 Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools competed in Thursday’s South Shore Catholic Schools Annual Regional Spelling Bee, held this year at Saint Francis Xavier School in Weymouth. The winner was seventh grader Alexandra Lacandula from Saint Francis of Assisi School in Braintree. Mark England, who is in the fifth grade at Saint Bridget School in Abington, came in second, and Christopher Boensel, who placed third, is in the seventh grade at Saint Joseph School in Holbrook.
Catholic Schools Office Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Daniel Roy was a judge, along with Kathleen Puleo. Puleo was the principal of Saint Jerome School in Weymouth until her retirement in 2018.
Roy said, “It was such a fun evening and I marveled at the way that students stood in front of their own school communities and other school communities and delivered the way they did. The students were truly impressive. Bob Murphy, principal of Saint Francis Xavier School, did a stellar job organizing and hosting the event.”
The competing students were in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Prior to this event, each school held grade-level spelling bees, and the winner from each grade then advanced and competed in the regionals. During the competition, once a student was a presented with a word to spell, he or she could ask for parts of speech, origin, definition, and to hear the word used in a sentence. Contenders were asked to spell words such as “jacquerie,” “phalanx,” “felicitously,” and “chloroform” during the Spelling Bee.
Brian Cote, principal of Saint Francis of Assisi School, said, "I am always so impressed with all the students; they were amazing! Our school communities truly look forward to this competitive event, which now has become a tradition with the South Region Catholic Schools."
Nancy Carr, principal of Saint Agatha School in Milton, attended the event for the first time. While Carr is a long-time principal in Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools, this is her first year leading a school on the South Shore.
She said, “This was a wonderful tribute to parochial schools. It gives the children an opportunity to compete and for us to applaud them for their successes. The Spelling Bee is a great opportunity to come together as Catholic school students, teachers, principals and families and celebrate what happens in the classroom every day.”
Due to Lacandula’s victory, Saint Francis of Assisi will host the Regional Spelling Bee next year.