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Owasco student to compete in regional spelling bee in Syracuse

Christopher Sciria
AECSD Public Information Specialist

Owasco Elementary School student Jenna Sadusky is getting a new dress. That’s pretty normal for any sixth-grader but for Jenna, she’s going to wear that new dress when she competes in the regional final of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sadusky, and her parents Joe and Marie, will be going to Syracuse University on Saturday, March 23 to compete against 23 other students from across Central New York. She is the lone student from a Cayuga County school district to qualify for the regionals.

If she wins regionals, she would advance to the national finals that will be held during the last week of May at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, outside of Washington, D.C.
Marie, Jenna and Joe Sadusky

To qualify for the regional bee, Jenna won Owasco’s bee in December. She then had to make it through an online test to advance. Winning the Owasco bee was special because it was Jenna’s first time competing in a bee.

“I was kind of nervous at first because I've never really done one before and I didn't want to get anything wrong,” she said, “but it was really exciting and my friends were there too, cheering me on.”

Joe and Marie watched Jenna as she progressed through the first few rounds and it was quite the experience.

“I remember sitting in the audience, it was going back and forth for a while,” Marie said. “For a spelling bee at an elementary school it was pretty nerve-wracking. I couldn't believe it, it was very exciting, there's Jenna up there spelling all those words, it was really cool. I was very excited for her.” 

“As it progressed, the further in she got,” Joe said, “we’d look at each other every now and then and it’d be like, wow, you know what, she made it through the first half. Wow, now she is in the top four. We just wanted her to have a good time. Win or lose, it wasn't a big deal or anything but the closer she got towards winning, it started getting a little nerve-wracking and it was exciting.”

Since Jenna qualified for the regional bee she’s been preparing by studying a guidebook Scripps provides to give her an idea of what kinds of words to expect.

“A lot, like pretty much every night,” Jenna replied when asked how often she studies. “Some of them (the words) I’ve known before but most of them are all new.”

“We've been working on it,” Marie said, “they're getting a little harder and more challenging.” 

In the meantime, Jenna, who likes to read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books, has been receiving a lot of support from her friends and the school.

“They've said congratulations. My classmates are encouraging me a lot,” Jenna said.

“Any time an Auburn Maroon rises to prominence, it is special for our community whatever the endeavor,” said Owasco Principal Ron Gorney. “We have had plenty of that lately in our sporting Maroons that is for sure.  So now we have a Maroon and Owasco Owl heading to Syracuse to compete in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee. This is a point of pride for our Owasco learning community and district. Go Jenna!”

No matter what happens in Syracuse, Jenna and her family are going to enjoy a memorable experience.

“I want her to do her best of course but I also want her to have fun, absolutely,” Marie said. “So I think that's the most important thing, just to have a lot of fun there.”

“It's pretty exciting,” Joe said. “She's really good about it, not putting a lot of pressure on yourself. She just is thrilled to be a part of the process and if she goes far, she goes far, if not that's fine. She's just as excited about picking a place to go to lunch afterwards. I’m biased but Jenna is really one of the sweetest, kindest, most polite kids you could ever hope to meet and she just happens to be a pretty decent speller too.”

Superintendent: Jeffrey Pirozzolo
Phone: 315.255.8800
Address: 78 Thornton Avenue | Auburn, NY 13021
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