University of Rochester

EVENT: RCSD Students Compete in 2nd Annual 19th Ward Spelling Bee Finals

April 20, 2012

This Sunday, finalists in the 2nd annual 19th Ward Spelling Bee will compete to earn the title of best speller. The Spelling Bee, which begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchinson Hall on the University of Rochester River Campus, features students in grades 3 through 7 at School 16, School 19, and School 44. The event is free and open to the public.

Prior to the competition students and their parents will be provided with lunch and given the opportunity to explore the River Campus and engage with members of the University community.

The 19th Ward Spelling Bee grew out of a shared recognition that such events provide valuable experiences for school-aged children. Several years ago, the Rochester City Spelling Bee was canceled due to a lack of funding and in 2010, recognizing this educational need, a partnership was established between the University of Rochester NY Xi Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, the 19th Ward Community Association, and the Rochester City School District to organize a new Spelling Bee for children in the 19th Ward community.

The 19th Ward Spelling Bee is not just an event; it is an educational process. Throughout the academic year students receive Spelling Bee support in their respective schools and attend monthly sessions at Arnett Library, where members of Sigma Phi Epsilon tutor them in preparation for the preliminary and the final rounds. The program would not have been/continue to be possible without the additional support of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the University of Rochester Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and the PTAs at each school.

"We have a wonderful fabric of folks who worked to make this event a reality," said co-organizer and local attorney J. B. Afoh-Manin, noting that members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and RCSD teachers have been working on the program for the past two years. "We wanted to create an event that emphasizes learning, that shows it is cool to be smart, and celebrates the best our community has to offer."

For more information about the Spelling Bee, call on-site media contact Kenny Hanchett at 585-489-8436 or email