Glissando. G-L-I-S-S-A-N-D-O. That's the word 11-year-old Anneliese Yu correctly spelled in the 15th round of Boston's annual citywide spelling bee to win the competition.
Yu will now go on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer. The nation's largest and longest-running spelling bee has only been won by a Massachusetts resident one time -- in 1939.
“I am shocked, I didn’t think I would get this far,” Yu, of Boston's West End, said after winning. “I am excited to represent Boston at the Scripps Bee.”
Yu and 11 other Boston youth from across the city competed in the 13th annual event Saturday -- which was virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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“I am so proud of the dedication and hard work by these young people to represent their schools at this bee,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “Participation in this spelling bee is not just an individual achievement, but it’s also a communal achievement by students and the people at their side. I also want to congratulate the parents and school staff who have supported you along the way. Congratulations to all of the participants.”
Contestants were cheered on -- virtually -- by nearly 100 family members, teachers and friends.
To qualify for Saturday's competition, which was organized by the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) and sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation, the 12 contestants had to beat out 1,500 other young people who participated in Boston public and parochial school bees.
“We are very proud to be hosting the BCYF Citywide Spelling Bee for the thirteenth year,” said William Morales, Commissioner of BCYF. “The young spellers are truly inspiring. Thank you to our longtime sponsor, the Boston Bruins Foundation, for supporting the BCYF Bee each year and giving us a chance to show off Boston’s talented youth.”
For winning, Yu received the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online Premium, and a trophy.
The second place finisher was 12-year-old Lyla Mendoza, from Dorchester and coming in third was 12-year-old Clara Harms, from West Roxbury. Both received an Amazon Fire 10 Tablet, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a trophy.
Other kids who participated Saturday were Cole McKittrick, 13, of West Roxbury; Leny Martinez, 12, of Dorchester; Christina Agyemang, 11, of Hyde Park; Serena Mekary, 9, of Mission Hill; Joel Kaiser, 12, of East Boston; Edward (Ned) Kiely, 11, of South Boston; Gianluca Pasquale, 12, of Everett; Maya Friedmann, 11, of Roslindale; and Ella Blanchet, 10, of Charlestown.