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 an annual community-wide spelling bee, engaging nearly 600 youth, ages kindergarten through 8th grade. Branch bees determine the finalists that move on to compete in the YMCA Spelling Bee Finals.

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.


Join us in 2020
for the 3rd Annual
YMCA Spelling Bee

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.


Our 2019 Winners


1ST PLACE: Audrey D., Bardmoor YMCA
2ND PLACE: Armand Q., YMCA at Lealman Exchange
3RD PLACE: Tia C., Harbordale YMCA

1st Grade

1ST PLACE: Jamari C., Faith-Based Literacy Program
2ND PLACE: Kaylyn L., YMCA at Lealman Exchange
3RD PLACE: Kaylee K., Bardmoor YMCA

2nd Grade

1ST PLACE: Matteo B., Bardmoor YMCA
2ND PLACE: Princess G., Harbordale YMCA
3RD PLACE: Giancarlo B., Jim & Heather Gills YMCA

3rd Grade

1ST PLACE: Rhiannon D., YMCA at Lealman Exchange
2ND PLACE: Sanaa B., Faith-Based Literacy Program
3RD PLACE: Evan A., Jim & Heather Gills YMCA

4th Grade

1ST PLACE: Aurora H., Jim & Heather Gills YMCA
2ND PLACE: Uzuri C., Faith-Based Literacy Program
3RD PLACE: Dominic B., Bardmoor YMCA

5th Grade

1ST PLACE: Sa-rai S., Jim & Heather Gills YMCA
2ND PLACE: Landon L., YMCA at Lealman Exchange
3RD PLACE: Raven W., Faith-Based Literacy Program

Middle School

1ST PLACE: Jameria S., Faith-Based Literacy Program
2ND PLACE: Kemuri S., Faith-Based Literacy Program
3RD PLACE: Derrick B., Faith-Based Literacy Program

Our 2019 Judges


YMCA Spelling Bee Judge


Allie Krings
In-Game Host for the Tampa Bay Rays

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Dictionary Judge

Dr. Michael Grego
Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Recording Judge

Charlie Justice
Pinellas County Commissioner

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Ruling Judge

Stephen Thomas
Executive Director of Rays Baseball Foundation

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Timing Judge

Dr. Marcie Biddleman
Chief Executive Officer for the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County

YMCA Spelling Bee Judge

Pronouncer Judge

Dr. Kanika Tomalin
Deputy Mayor/City Administrator of St. Petersburg


The 2019 YMCA Spelling Bee was sponsored by

Rays Baseball Foundation



Raymond James & Associates


Bee #YMCABuzz