MERIDEN — By spelling “examination” correctly, Luke Pandiani, a sixth grade student at Edison Middle School, won the first citywide spelling bee in two years.
The event, held at Lincoln Middle School Wednesday night, was hosted by the Meriden Kiwanis Club and was eagerly anticipated by staff, students and volunteers. Eleven students in fifth and sixth grade, each representing one city school, participated. Each of the finalists competing Wednesday had already won their school’s spelling bee. The runners up in the individual school competition attended and were recognized Wednesday.
“The key to Kiwanis is serving the children of the world,” Dave Wyskiel, bee master, said during the event.
Karen Roesler, president of the Meriden Kiwanis Club, said teachers and students were excited about the return of the citywide spelling bee, which was not held for two years because of pandemic restrictions.
The bee lasted for five rounds before it got down to the final two, Pandiani and Odira Osita-Osadebe, of Pulaski Elementary School. Pandiani’s win means Edison will host next year’s event.
Pandiani said it felt “absolutely amazing” to win and complimented the other students on their hard work as well. Kim Pandiani, Luke’s mother, said he took the event very seriously and even studied on family vacation. She is also the vice president of the Meriden Board of Education.
Osita-Osadebe said he was a little nervous about the competition, but his dad worked with him beforehand to keep him calm. Osita-Osadebe said both of his parents encouraged him. His father, Patrick Osadebe, said he was proud of his son and thankful for the experience.
Dawn Martorelli, Edison Middle School English teacher and subject area specialist, agreed the students were excited and enthusiastic about the return of the spelling bee.
Brian Cofrancesco, president elect of the Meriden Kiwanis Club, Robert Kosienski, Jr., president of the Board of Education, and Tony Martorelli, a Board of Education member, were all judges for the event.