YMCA Spelling Bee



About the Bee

During the summer, a student’s achievement score declines on average by one month’s worth of school-year learning. The YMCA’s renowned academic curriculum has culminated into a community-wide spelling bee, engaging more than 400 youth (ages ​kindergarten through​ 6th​ ​grade) to feature 70 finalists at the main YMCA Spelling Bee.

The YMCA Spelling Bee is important because, quite simply, spelling helps reading. Studies show that if a student is not reading at grade level by 3rd​ ​grade they become 4x more likely to drop out of high school.

The YMCA Spelling Bee words are specifically chosen to blend sight words, learned during the previous grade, with words the child is expected to master by the end of the next academic year.


Thursday, July 26
6:00 - 8:00PM

at Childs Park YMCA
691 43rd St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711


The bee also provides students with an opportunity to practice public speaking, develop self-confidence, and improve their sense of sportsmanship. Participating youth are encouraged to practice their spelling words daily, with support of Y staff​ ​ and also at home with family. The Y is committed to youth development, while inspiring a continual love of learning throughout the entire year.

Meet Our Judges


YMCA Spelling Bee Judge


Bobby Millikin
Tampa Bay Rays

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Dictionary Judge

Dr. Michael Grego
Pinellas County Schools

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Recording Judge

Dr. Marci Biddleman
Juvenile Welfare Board

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Ruling Judge

Leah McRae
City of St. Petersburg

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Timing Judge

Andrew Gallo

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Pronouncer Judge

Kimberly Jackson
St. Petersburg College


The 2018 YMCA Spelling Bee is powered by Raymond James & Associates