By Thuy-An Nguyen
Boston University News Service
Twelve-year-old Sulayman Abdirahman was the winner of Boston’s 14th annual citywide spelling bee Saturday, March 19, at the Boston Public Library’s Copley Branch.
Competing against 18 other students, Abdirahman, representing Brooke Charter School Mattapan, lasted 12 regular rounds and 29 final rounds, winning with the correct spelling of the word “Apres.”
He will go on to represent the city of Boston at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in May.
“Congratulations to all of our student spellers today for the hard work, courage, and composure it takes to make it to the Citywide Spelling Bee. You all make Boston, your school communities, and your families proud,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement. “Thank you to the families and teachers who supported them along the way, and best of luck to Sulayman representing Boston.”
Abdirahman received a trophy, along with one-year subscriptions to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online and Encyclopedia Britannica Online Premium, and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award — a 2022 U.S. Mint Proof Set donated by Jay Sugarman in honor of his father.
Anneliese Yu, 12, from Boston’s West, was runner-up, while Josephine LoRusso, 13, from the South End, came third. The two received trophies, an Amazon Fire 8 Tablet, and a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.
The spelling bee, which took place in person for the first time in two years, was judged by David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library; Sebastian Stockman, professor of English at Northeastern University; and, Dave Silk, a Boston Bruins Foundation member, Boston Bruins alumnus, and 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medalist.
The event was hosted by the Boston Center for Youth and Families and sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation.
“There’s nothing like being in person, and particularly for an event like this where we’re able to have young people be the center of the program and celebrate their work,” Leonard said. “I think it’s just so important that we find ways to do this kind of programming.”
Abdirahman will be competing against 200 other regional spelling bee winners at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The finals will be broadcast live on ION on June 2.