ImageIn the spirit of celebrating excellence in the verbal arts — and with no small measure of familial pride — we're delighted to present this dispatch from first-time contributor Jonah Glickman, who recounts the white-knuckle suspense of his recent victory in Carpenter Avenue Elementary's fiercely competitive Fifth Grade Spelling Bee. An avid student of world mythology and a passionate devotee of jazz, Jonah just returned from a class trip to Washington, D.C.

To bee or not to bee? That was my question when I qualified for the spelling bee at my school. For the past three years, I didn't even want to do the bee.  But this is my last year in elementary school, so I decided just to do it this year.

When I got there, it was the largest ever for the school; there were 30 contestants, so I didn't really expect to win. I hadn't ever been a fantastic speller, but I tried, and after two hard-fought hours of spelling, I won on the word "mosaic." It was unbelievable!

I don't know if it was somehow destined because my aunt and uncle have an editorial business. Still, I was pretty nervous, but nobody really seemed to notice. It was a great spelling experience, and I won a very cool medal.