EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Alder Avenue Middle School and Fernwood Avenue Middle School held spelling bees Jan. 23 and 25, respectively.

The competitions were held during the school day, beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting about two and a half hours. They were open to any student in sixth, seventh or eighth grade.

Students were given words to study, but after that list is exhausted, they can be given any word in the dictionary.

Alder’s spelling bee had 104 students compete and lasted 19 rounds, with 325 words. The winner was sixth-grader Ranajoy Gupta, who clinched the win by correctly spelling the word "foreman." Placing second was eighth-grader Sheikh Mahmud, the 2016 champion. Third place went to sixth-grader Jewel Mallari.

Fernwood’s spelling bee had 95 students compete and lasted 16 rounds, with 344 words. The winner was sixth-grader Kerrissa Arjoon, who won with the word "Gregorian." Seventh-grader Sawyer Dilks came in second, and third place went to seventh-grader and 2017 champion Angelina Merendino. Seventh-grader Sal Christaldi came in fourth.

Both school champions will move on to represent Egg Harbor Township against other school champions from southern New Jersey at the South Jersey Spelling Bee March 10 at Folsom Elementary School.

The competition was coordinated and hosted by Jeff Warner, the gifted and talented teacher at both schools.

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