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Newtown’s Hayden Hughes Wins State Spelling Bee, Will Represent Connecticut At Scripps National



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WEST HARTFORD — A Newtown resident will represent her home state in May at the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

After a long year of studying their pronunciation guides and word lists, 46 students from across the state assembled in West Hartford for The Connecticut Spelling Bee on Sunday, March 3, for the chance to represent the state at the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Hayden Hughes, a seventh grade student from Newtown, is the 2024 Connecticut Spelling Champion. Hayden took to the microphone 14 times during the 2024 Connecticut Spelling Bee. Her winning word was “dropsical.”

Hayden will represent Connecticut at the National Spelling Bee, May 26-31, at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Port Washington, Md.

Ethan Zimmer, from King Philip Middle School, earned second place in the competition. Nathan Settevendemie (Mabelle B. Avery Middle School) earned third place. Five students tied for fourth place, five tied for ninth place, five tied for 14th place, 13 tied for 32nd place, and one finished in 46th place.

A veteran Connecticut Spelling Bee competitor and student of Hughes Homeschool, Hayden earned first place in the 14th round. When asked how it felt to be the 2024 Connecticut Spelling Bee Champion, she stated, “I am thrilled to be the CT Champion! I had a great experience at the Bee, and look forward to representing Connecticut at Nationals!”

Dr William Dolan, official pronouncer of The Connecticut Spelling Bee, led the spellers through the 2024 competition. Dr Dolan competed in the 1989, 1990, and 1991 Scripps National Spelling Bees, placing fifth in 1990, and served on the staff for 10 National Bees.

Judges were Dr Sharon Ware and Jeremy Bond.

Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society Executive Director Jeffrey Mainville said the historic location “is honored to present the Connecticut Spelling Bee each year, and this year’s competition certainly did not disappoint.

“These students represent the most talented spellers from across our state, and it was truly inspiring to witness how hard they’ve all worked to get here,” Mainville added. “Thank you to the officials who volunteered their time once again, and the families for supporting their spellers. We are proud of them all. We will be rooting for Hayden in May at the National Spelling Bee!”

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will support the cost of Hayden attending Bee Week in Maryland.

More than 10,000 students across the state participated in the spelling bee program this year.

Jeffrey J. Mainville, executive director at Noah Webster House, congratulates champion Hayden Hughes of Newtown, who won The Connecticut Spelling Bee on March 3. Hayden will now represent Connecticut at the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. —photos courtesy Alex Garrish
The Connecticut competition’s top three spellers were, from left, Ethan Zimmer of King Phillips Middle School, second place; Hayden Hughes of Newtown, first place; and Nathan Settevendemie of Mabelle B. Avery Middle School, third.
Hundreds of students from all across the state vied for the top spot at the Connecticut Spelling Bee.
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