By Jon Craig
Greenburgh Central Schools may be spawning a future TV news anchor, Internet inventor or national superstar.
That’s what Town Supervisor Paul Feiner wondered aloud Wednesday before honoring this year’s batch of spelling bee finalists at a meeting of the Town Board.
“We’re going to meet some of the most brilliant students in the whole country,’’ Feiner said.
Feiner, who served as a judge during the school district’s second annual spelling bee, called the youngsters “a real pride of the town. I didn’t know they would be as smart as they were.”
“They handled themselves with a lot of class, even the ones who lost,’’ Feiner said. “So much dignity. They have the potential to be really great.”
To the delight of parents and teachers in the Town Hall audience, Feiner noted that NBC Today Show Host Matt Lauer attended Woodlands High School and that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry and attended Ardsley High School. (Lauer graduated from Greenwich High School in Connecticut and Zuckerberg from Phillips Exeter Academy.)
Harshita Shet, 10, was the overall winner. She’ll advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 25-31 in Washington, D.C., accompanied by Marguerite Clarkson, her principal at Richard J. Bailey Elementary School. Harshita told the Examiner that the toughest word she had to spell was incorruptible. She was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by her parents, Kiran and Manju Shet. She credited her 15-year-old brother, Harshel, with helping her prepare for the local spelling finals. He’s a freshman at Stepinac High School. Feiner said that since she’s only a fourth-grader, Harshita may get several shots at winning a national spelling title.
“The odds of you being a national champion are very, very good,’’ Feiner said. Harshita she’d like to become a teacher or lawyer someday. Feiner told her: “I hope to watch you on national TV become the best speller in the United States.”
At Harrison Central Schools, Jonathan Sullivan, a seventh-grade student at Louis M. Klein Middle School, advanced to the New York Geographic Bee Semifinals this Friday (April 4) at the New York State Museum in Albany.
The 12 Harrison finalists to compete in this year’s local geographic bee were Sullivan, Melia Aholoe, Lianne Davidoff, Dylan Fitzgerald, Sara Garcia, Ciara Gougherty, Austin Mueller, Isabel O’Connell, Christian Pizzutello, Cassidy Urban, Jan Carlo Yepes Perafin and Conor Kelley.
According to school officials, after numerous rounds of suspenseful competition, only Sullivan and Mueller were left standing. Sullivan correctly identified the Chesapeake Bay as the location that the Potomac River empties to win Harrison’s bee.
Full Greenburgh spelling bee results below:
Honey Bees (Kindergarten – 1st Grade)
1st Place: Giannalyn Menucci, wants to become a teacher.
2nd Place: Cameron Hendrickson “She has a winning smile,’’ Feiner said.
3rd Place: Ethan Locke, wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up.
Worker Bees (2nd-3rd Grade)
1st Place: Trevor Miekle “You have to study hard and do your best and be confident that you can do it,’’ he said.
2nd Place: Amariah Leckie “I study a lot and I study hard,’’ she said.
3rd Place: Taylor Hendrickson wants to become an artist.
Bumble Bees (4th-8th Grade)
1st Place: Harshita Shet (She advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee)
2nd Place: Katie Eng wants to become a doctor.
3rd Place: Shrudhii Kundu “I want to thank everyone who supported me,’’ he said.