Milai Gummi, Malik Wells and Olivia Serao (from left to right) are the District 91 spelling champions, beating out the competition at the spelling bee on Jan. 15.

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Grant-White third-grader Nilai Gummi, who placed first in the District 91 spelling bee on Jan. 15, will progress to the next level of competition. Along with alternate Malik Wells, an eighth-grader at the Middle School, Gummi will represent D91 at the 10th annual West 40 Local Area Spelling Bee on Feb. 3 at McClure Jr. High School in Western Springs.

Wells was the Forest Park Middle School champion, and third-grader Olivia Serrao placed first at Field Stevenson.

At Grant-White Elementary, some of the words the children spelled were “jubilant,” “manifesto,” “cough,” and “bestow.” Field Stevenson’s students were challenged with “anxious,” “tapestry” and “smudge.” And at the Middle School, “audacious,” “pyrotechnics” and “impetus” made the list. 

Heather Yates, a fourth-grade teacher at Field Stevenson who organized and was the pronouncer for this year’s D91 spelling bee, expressed her appreciation of the bravery and talent shown by all the competitors.

“Every contestant was courageous and exceptional,” said Yates in an email. “It is not easy to stand in front of a group of people, especially on stage and do something that very few people can or are willing to do. … Our students exhibited an astounding level of perseverance and sportsmanship.”