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Foundation for Belmont Education Spelling Bee 2019

A record number of approximately 800 students from kindergarten to grade six competed at the 19th annual Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) Spelling Bee held on November 2 at the Chenery Middle School. The 2019 winning team are the Spelling Champs, sixth graders Simrah Azmi and Michelle Chow, who spelled “haberdashery” correctly. Another first for Bee history was a tie for the 2019 Runner-Up/second place winning teams, Beeched Whales, Asher Sigel and Gregory Zeldovich, and Booming Bumble Bees, Xinyan Chen and Ray Chao, both fifth grade teams.

The K-4 swarms, as the teams are called, are non-competitive, and grade five and six swarms are competitive. Word lists are available to participants to review at home and with their team. On the day of the Bee, the teams are given words from the list to write on a team whiteboard. Participants are encouraged to show team spirit with fun team dress and come up with creative swarm names. A few of the names this year were Lightning Letter Lizards, Happy Hive, Selleroni and Bees, and BEEched Whales.

The evening hosts/MCs were Burbank Kindergarten Teacher Colleen Cox, Butler Principal Danielle Betancourt, and Chenery Library Media Specialist Karen Duff. The Panel was comprised of School Committee Members, Belmont Public School Educators, and other local FBE supporters.

This event is one of the many fundraisers the Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) holds annually to benefit Belmont Public Schools. All spellers receive a gift for participating in the Bee. The winners of the competitive Swarms receive a prize from Gibson Sotheby’s, and runners-up receive a prize from Belmont Books.


  • Katie Bender, Teacher, Special Education, Daniel Butler School
  • Amy Checkoway, Belmont School Committee Member
  • Michael Crowley, Belmont School Committee Member
  • Nicolette Foundas, Assistant Principal, Chenery Middle School
  • Jonathan Hartunian, Assistant Principal, Chenery Middle School
  • Bhuvana Kaushik, Teacher, Math Grade 6, Chenery Middle School
  • Anne Mahon, FBE Supporter and Volunteer
  • Heidi Paisner-Roffman, Principal, Roger Wellington School
  • Sarah Pierson, Teacher, Grade 3, Mary Lee Burbank School
  • Joanna Tzouvelis, Senior Multimedia Journalist for Wicked Local Belmont and the Belmont Citizen- Herald and Associate Producer and Reporter for Belmont Journal

Bee Keeper Sponsor:

  • Orthodontics of Cambridge
  • Honeycomb Sponsor:
  • Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

FBE Investors in Education:

  • Belmont Orthodontics and Belmont Pediatric Dentistry
  • Belmont Savings Bank Foundation
  • Belmont Smiles and Pediatric Dental Arts
  • Cambridge Trust Company
  • Cityside Subaru
  • Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Anne Mahon, Realtor
  • MyEyeDr. (formerly Bennett Family Eye Care)

FBE Co-Chairs:

Emily Running and Regan Moniz

About the FBE:

The Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) is an independent, non-profit organization run by volunteers who are dedicated to improving educational opportunities for Belmont’s students and teachers.

The FBE awards grants for a diverse array of projects - from small grants that benefit a single classroom to large programs designed to benefit students in an entire grade or school. Grants are awarded in all curriculum areas, including science, art, physical education, music, and social-emotional initiatives.

Thanks to donations from thousands of Belmont residents and businesses, in recent years, the FBE has been able to increase its average donation to the Belmont Public Schools to $200,000 a year. To date, the FBE has awarded close to $4 million for grants and special initiatives.

Ready to spell  2nd place runner-up tie Booming Bumble Bees and BEEched Whales  Busy spelling  FBE Spelling Bee  FBE Spelling Bee  Funny moment at the Spelling Bee  Lightning spellers  Ready Bees  Winning Team Spelling Champs