Here are your Daily Item Spelling Bee contestants

LYNN — An aspiring paleontologist, a bug-hating 5th grader who wants to be a nature photographer, and a competitor destined to be either the first woman in the NBA or a gynecologist, will face off in The Daily Item’s Regional Spelling Bee on March 23.

But last year’s champion Ashrita Gandhari will return to try to outspell them all. The fifth grader from Franklin Elementary School in North Andover took top place in last year’s bee after 30 rounds of relentless competition. She successfully spelled ‘uvula’ and was presented with a massive Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Selling isn’t Gandhari’s only game. She’s also competed in her school’s Math Olympiad twice.

Winners have been announced from 47 of 61 competing schools. This year, the regional contest has been expanded to include some schools in Bristol, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties in addition to Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk.

The winner of The Item’s regional bee will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. As part of their prize, the champion will take home a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a five-day trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. for bee week.

Second and third place will snag a $50 and $25 voucher for the book store. The prizes are sponsored by Joel and Mary Abramson, owners of Flagship Travel, a Marblehead-based travel agency.

The Spelling Bee will be on March 23 at 6 p.m. at The Lynn City Hall Memorial Auditorium. School champions slated to compete in The Item Spelling Bee include:



Joseph Masterson
St. Michael Elementary School

William Yue
The Pike School



Christopher Pho
W.M.H. Galvin Middle School



Emma Hatch
Holten Richmond Middle School



Mia Magliari
Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School



Braedon Smith
John G. Whittier Middle School



Grace Ji
South Elementary School

Jonathan Rodriguez
Bellesini Academy



Zachary DeRoche
St. Monica School



Alan DeLeon Guzman
Drewicz Elementary School

Edna Lendo
Connery Elementary School

Emmah Faris-Howes
Thurgood Marshall Middle School

Faileny Torres
Lincoln-Thompson Elementary School

Jacob Beyea
Lynn Woods School

Jonathan Berger
Washington Elementary School

Jose Martinez
Kipp Academy Lynn Charter School

Leenah Rena
Robert L. Ford Elementary School

Leylani Kem
E.J. Harrington School

Makayla Sary-Yen
Ingalls Elementary School

Michelle Azzun
St. Pius V. School

Nneji Mang Moenae
Pickering Middle School

Sierra-Leone Green
Capt. William G. Shoemaker School

Taleiysa Jomes
Sisson Elementary School



Julia Ho
Lynnfield Middle School



Graham Kramer
The Village Elementary School

Massimo Bottari
Veterans Middle School

Sebby Pantzer
Marblehead Community Charter School



Ablah Maryam Siddiq
The Islamic Academy for Peace



June Crowley
Johnson Elementary School


North Andover

Ashrita Gandhari
Franklin Elementary School



Catherine Koran
Foxborough Regional Charter School



Sofia Valencia
Higgins Middle School



Achraf Malki
Beachmont Veterans Memorial School

Annabella Sandy-Roche
Garfield Middle School

David Kossol
Garfield Elementary School

Dylan Blaisdell
Susan B. Anthony Middle School

Isha Assan
A.C. Whelan Elementary School

Jon Begolli
Paul Revere School

Kamilla Souza
Abraham Lincoln School

Melih Yilmaz
Rumney Marsh Academy

Sara Granados
Hill Elementary School



Jakob Timmons
Rockport Middle School



Vanessa Murati
Waybright Elementary School



Michael Grigoryan
Clarke Elementary School

Ned Jefferies
Hadley Elementary School



William Enjia Buswell
Covenant Christian Academy



Maryjane Timilt
Eleanor N. Johnson Middle School

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