BLS Spells “D-E-C-L-I-V-I-T-Y”


Brian Xu (VI) wins the BLS spelling bee. (Source: @blsthrives)

By Olivia Chen (V), Contributing Writer

On February 28, students in Classes V and VI competed in the BLS Spelling Bee for a chance to compete in the City-wide Spelling Bee.


Students competed in the auditorium. The judge assigned each student a number starting from one and called them up in that order. Once called up, the judge read a word and the student had to spell it, though the student could ask for alternate pronunciations, usage in a sentence, definitions, and so on before they spelled it.


Elizabeth Baldes (V), who placed second in the BLS Spelling Bee, shares her experience on stage: “Even though I knew [that] I prepared well, when I was called up, I was still kind of nervous and anticipatory.”


English Department Director Ms. Angelene Thompson, along with other staff members and parents, helped plan this event. They sent registration forms to all seventh and eighth-grade homerooms. If students were interested, they would sign up and receive information about the next steps.


The winner of the BLS Spelling Bee was Brian Xu (VI).“Declivity,” meaning “a downward slope,” was the championship word. Xu’s prior experience led him to compete in this competition, as he competed in school spelling bees in the third and fourth grades, placing second in the fourth grade.


Xu emphasizes that winning does not come without preparation. When Xu received the list of one thousand words, he continuously studied them by reading over the list multiple times and making sure he knew every single word. Along with the list, he also used flashcards to test himself every day for two hours.


Leading up to the competition, Xu felt extremely nervous. He explains, “There are eighth graders who competed before, and the eighth grader next to me got second place last year.”


During the competition, however, Xu started to relax and gain confidence after acknowledging that he had done his best studying and that it will pay off during the competition.


Ms. Thompson notes, “During the internal [competition], it was hard to tell that he was nervous if he was nervous at all.”

When the competition ended, Xu felt surprised and thrilled at the same time. He did not expect himself to win the spelling bee, as he faced many strong competitors.


After placing first in the BLS Spelling Bee, Xu successfully moved on to the Boston BCYF City Bee, placing third out of twenty-three competitors. A major challenge for Xu was studying four thousand words in a shorter period of time. Xu says, “I tried my best to study but there are some words that I, unfortunately, could not get.”


Nevertheless, Xu says that he had a great experience at this year’s BLS and City Spelling, and he plans on competing again next year in the BLS Spelling Bee. Xu concludes with his favorite word “slab,” saying, “I like that word because it’s short. And [was] pretty easy to start [with it during the spelling bee].”