The Peabody Education Foundation hosted its second annual Spelling Bee at the Northshore Mall on February 16. Thirty Higgins Middle School students from grades six, seven, and eight competed against one another for the title of top speller. Unlike last year’s competition, spellers were not separated by grade level but rather competed across all grades.

First place in the Spelling Bee went to Ashley Royer, a member of the Grade 7 Bears cluster. She received a $2,000 scholarship to Sylvan Learning Center, a watch from Precision Time and a $50 Simon gift card.

The second and third place finishers went one-on-one for four rounds before Grade 8 Aquarian Claudia Lanes, placed second and Spencer May, a seventh grader from the Broncos cluster, took third. Each contestant received a $50 Simon gift card and a watch from Precision Time.

After more than two hours of competition there were eight contestants remaining. “Tie Breaker” words, such as epistrophe, opsimath, autochthonous, and linguipotence, were used to narrow the field.

Thirty pieces of student art were auctioned off to benefit the Peabody Education Foundation. The frames for the artwork were provided by GraVoc Associates. The three artists whose work brought in the highest bids were also recognized with a $50 Simon gift card from Mark Whiting. The artists are: Camryn Caruso, Bernard Perisie and Nicole Malvarose.

Attendees took part in the silent auction and raffle to benefit the Peabody Education Foundation’s Partners in Education program. Items for the auction were donated by PEF members, community residents, and local businesses.

The Peabody Education Foundation would like to thank the following businesses who made the event a success through donations of resources and raffle prizes: Northshore Mall, Regina’s Pizzeria, Treadwell’s Ice Cream, Burton’s Grill, Build-A-Bear, Jamba Juice, Sephora, The Body Shop, Precision Time, Chick-Fil-A, and Village Silversmith. Thank you to those individuals who donated their time and efforts to ensure that the event ran smoothly, and special thanks to Sudi Smoller for coordinating all efforts and training the top spellers at the Higgins!