Nikita Dzougoutov Wins National Spelling Bee

Six finalists represented MSD in the National Spelling Bee. On March 31, the department-wide competition took place with students in first through fifth grade who were invited to participate in the eighth annual elementary spelling bee. The top three spellers from each campus advanced to the national spelling bee.
For the department-wide spelling bee, Columbia campus invited Board of Trustees Treasurer John Olumoya and staff Kevin Gahagan as guest judges and Heidi Burghardt as the pronouncer. The competition was exciting with seven spellers. Third-grader Michaela Allen-Raeke, fifth-grader Jagger Chamberlin, and fifth-grader Jaiden Gibbons were named the top three finalists.
Frederick campus welcomed guest judges Chanel (Gleicher) Bonheyo ('09), Board of Trustees President Corey Burton, board member Kirsten Poston, along with PSA President Rupert Dubler, who was bee pronouncer, and PSA Vice President Sheri Youens-Un as the emcee. The department-wide competition was intense, with 28 spellers participating in over 12 rounds. The final four spellers were neck and neck for several rounds until, ultimately, fifth-grader Nikita Dzougoutov, third-grader Jett Noschese, and first-grader Ella Noschese clinched the top three spots.
On Thursday, May 5, MSD's spelling bee finalists participated in the 2022 National Spelling Bee. Gallaudet University Youth Programs facilitated the competition among national finalists via video conference. After 18 incredible rounds, Nikita Dzougoutov earned the title of co-champion along with a Kendall Demonstration Elementary School student and a student from Indiana School for the Deaf. Alicia Balzer Farias, the spelling bee coordinator for the Frederick campus, said "this was one of the best competitions I have seen. Everyone did an outstanding job, and the final three co-champions were flawless."
Congratulations to our outstanding elementary spellers and finalists on a job well done, and congratulations to Nikita for being named one of the three co-champions!

Special thanks to the spelling bee coordinators, pronouncers and judges, teachers, and the parent organizations for their support in making this spelling bee a success for our students.