Snoqualmie Elementary Student Wins Regional Spelling Bee

Declan Mallady, a fifth-grader at Snoqualmie Elementary School, has won the Regional Spelling Bee of King and Snohomish Counties. He is the first elementary student to win in over two decades.

Mallady’s journey to victory has been supported by his family’s unwavering encouragement. Having moved to Snoqualmie in 2008, Issaquah in 2013, and back to Snoqualmie in 2016, the Mallady family has been a constant source of support for Declan. His parents, Kim and Ryan Mallady and his older brother Andrew, have cheered him on every step of the way.

Declan’s passion for spelling emerged early on, evident when he was first place 1st grader in the Timber Ridge Elementary School spelling bee in January 2020. Then, in second grade, he joined the STREAM program at SES, but unfortunately, there was no spelling bee due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he surprised everyone in third grade by outshining STREAM 4th and 5th graders to win the SES spelling bee. Despite this victory, an online qualifying round for the regional bee was held that year, where only the top 20 spellers from the region were accepted. Despite his skill, Declan placed 25th, missing out on the opportunity to attend regionals as a third grader.

Undeterred, Declan continued to excel. Last year, as a fourth grader, he won the school bee again and passed the qualifying round, placing third in regionals. This year, he clinched victory at the school bee for the third time, and although the qualifying round was canceled due to computer issues, 73 participants competed in the regional bee. Despite these challenges and setbacks, Declan’s determination to succeed in spelling never faltered.

Declan showcased his spelling abilities by correctly spelling six words in the initial rounds, including challenging terms like “breathtaking,” “cartilage,” and “daguerreotype.”

Declan found himself head-to-head with another contestant as the rounds progressed, with the tension mounting with each word. Despite facing challenges and missing a few words in the later rounds, Declan maintained his composure and focus. In a nail-biting finale, he emerged victorious by correctly spelling the word “ringent,” securing his win in the bee.

The victory celebrates Declan’s individual achievement and highlights the importance of spelling competitions in schools. None of the SVSD middle schools currently host spelling bees, so Declan’s success emphasizes the value of such events in nurturing students’ academic and intellectual growth.

Declan’s win propels him to the national stage, as he qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. This opportunity rewards his hard work and showcases his talent on a broader platform.

Among the other participants in the regional bee was Matias Testman from CVES, who showcased his skills despite getting out in an earlier round. Aanya Sharma from FCES, representing her school as a runner-up, also demonstrated commendable spelling abilities.

Declan’s achievement inspires students everywhere. It demonstrates that dedication, perseverance, and a passion for learning can lead to remarkable success. Declan’s journey is a testament to the power of determination and the rewards of academic excellence as he prepares to represent his school and region at the national level.

[Featured Image: Declan at the regional bee with his teacher, Eliza Warmack]

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