More Than 50 Spellers Will “Bee” Ready on Saturday, March 11th for the WIPB Spelling Bee

Students are pictured from last year's WIPB spelling bee. Photo provided.Students are pictured from last year's WIPB Spelling Bee. Photo provided.

By: Michelle Kinsey—

Muncie, IN – Students from more than 50 area elementary and middle schools will compete in the second WIPB Spelling Bee, set for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 11, in Sursa Performance Hall, on the campus of Ball State University.

WIPB will be broadcasting the regional bee LIVE as well as streaming the event on the station’s website,

The Youth Opportunity Center Foundation generously contributed the funds to cover the Scripps fees for schools to participate from Delaware, Jay, Blackford, and Randolph counties. The YOC has been supporting the regional bee for more than a decade.

The champion of the WIPB Spelling Bee will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Other prizes for the spellers include reference books, gift certificates and more.

Last year's WIPB Spelling Bee Champion Samantha Academia from Yorktown Middle School, first runner-up Alesya Rathinasamy from Burris Laboratory School and second runner-up Caleb Roberts from Heritage Hall Christian School.

Last year’s WIPB Spelling Bee Champion Samantha Academia from Yorktown Middle School, first runner-up Alesya Rathinasamy from Burris Laboratory School and second runner-up Caleb Roberts from Heritage Hall Christian School.

In addition, WIPB has partnered with the Muncie Boys & Girls Club and Motivate Our Minds for spelling bee clubs that meet weekly at the centers.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for students to not only improve spelling proficiency, but to enhance public speaking skills as well,” said Michelle Kinsey, Community Engagement Coordinator for WIPB-TV. “And, of course, we get to do all of that through fun games and other activities.”

The Boys & Girls Club spelling group is led by Ball State University journalism professor Youngah Lee and her daughter (a former spelling bee champ), Jinwon, who will be competing in this year’s bee.

Last year’s WIPB Spelling Bee champion was Samantha Academia, a student at Yorktown Middle School. Her winning word, in case you were wondering, was “keest.”

WIPB Spelling Bee 2017 Participants

  1. Trooper Bullock, Albany Elementary School
  1. Vernon Hilty, Bloomfield Elementary School
  1. Alesya Rathinasamy, Burris Laboratory School (Elementary)
  1. Jinwon Pae, Burris Laboratory School (Middle)
  1. Josie Byrd, Cowan Elementary School
  1. Perrin Belcher, Cowan Jr. Sr. High School
  1. Emerson Eichhorn, Daleville Elementary School
  1. Sophia Donnelly, Deerfield Elementary School
  1. Lily Jones, Delta Middle School
  1. Inara Sanderson, East Elementary School
  1. Grace Brewster, East Jay County Middle School
  1. Sophie Tuite, East Washington Academy
  1. Amara Turvey, Eaton Elementary School
  1. Ella Stockton, General Shanks Elementary School
  1. Presley Runyon, Grissom Elementary School

16. Ashton Creamer-Lane, Heritage Hall Christian School (Elementary)

  1. Caleb Roberts, Heritage Hall Christian School (Middle)
  1. Aaliyah Parks, Homeschool Explorers (Elementary)

19. Lucy Arnold, Homeschool Explorers (Middle)

  1. Ryne Goldsworthy, Judge Haynes Elementary School
  1. Brookelyn Erwin, Lee L. Driver Middle School
  1. Marshall Turner, Longfellow Elementary School
  1. Francesca Tavianini, Mitchell Elementary School
  1. Guinevere Robertson, Monroe Central Elementary School
  1. Zackary Fulk, North Side Elementary School (Union City)
  1. Allie Parsons, North Side Elementary School (Hartford City)
  1. Thurman Ball, North View Elementary School
  1. Teddi Bishop, Northside Middle School
  1. Cameran Paxson, Pennville Elementary School
  1. Stacey Glunt, Randolph Southern Elementary School
  1. Jewelia Austin, Randolph Southern Jr. Sr. High School
  1. Parker Nichols, Redkey Elementary School
  1. Samori McKell-Jeffers, Royerton Elementary School
  1. Jarryn Orme, Selma Elementary School
  1. Xavier Meredith, Selma Middle School

36.  Kamryn Lambert, South View Elementary School

  1. Stevie Bonshire, Southside Middle School
  1. Nicholas Dosch, St. Lawrence Elementary School
  1. Arjun Reddy, St. Mary Elementary School
  1. Raphael Sabijon, St. Pope John Paul II Middle School
  1. Jillian Kimmel, Storer Elementary School
  1. Malaylah Foster, Sutton Elementary School
  1. Austin Abbott, Union Elementary School
  1. Aaron King, Union Jr. Sr. High School
  1. Hannah Keeley, Union Junior & High School
  1. Carly Brown, Wes-Del Elementary School
  1. Mady Justin, Wes-Del Jr. Sr. High School
  1. Hannah Outcalt, West Jay County Middle School
  1. Samantha Fowler, West View Elementary School
  1. Hayden Hardman, Westlawn Elementary School
  1. Andy Toney, Willard Elementary School
  1. Jaydon Sarino, Yorktown Elementary School
  1. Ria Agarwal, Yorktown Middle School


For more about last year’s competition, including a video of the bee, go to

Thanks to these sponsors and supporters for making the WIPB Spelling Bee possible: Family Vision Care, Youth Opportunity Center, Avila Orthodontics, Dr. Leland C. Wilhoite DDS, MutualBank, MITS, Thrive and Boyce Systems.

For more information about the WIPB Spelling Bee, contact Community Engagement Coordinator Michelle Kinsey at (765) 285-5887 or


A Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate, WIPB-TV is licensed to Ball State University and serves nearly 1.5 million people in east central Indiana and western Ohio. WIPB endeavors to educate, entertain and engage the communities we serve through distinctive television programs and enriching community engagement. For more information call 800-252-9472 or visit WIPB online at