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Education: A Closer Look

The Fourth Presbyterian School

10701 South Glen Road
Potomac, MD 20854

Fourth Presbyterian School Hosts First-Ever Scripps Regional Spelling Bee for Montgomery County

When Headmaster John Murray assumed his new role this past year at The Fourth Presbyterian School, he was surprised to learn his school could not enroll for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Coming from California, Murray learned that no student in Montgomery County could compete in the national academic contest because the county had never had a sponsor to give students the opportunity to compete beyond their individual schools. Seeing the need and opportunity to serve area schools, Murray found a co-sponsor--The Meakem Group of Wachovia Securities--to come along side Fourth Presbyterian School and bring Scripps to Montgomery County.

In addition to improving students' spelling skills and increasing their vocabularies, spelling bee participation provides valuable experience in developing poise--a necessary skill for success in public speaking, performing arts, and athletics. The first-ever Scripps Regional Spelling Bee for Montgomery County was held on March 28 at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD. Close to 35 students competed in the Montgomery County event, representing some of the top public and private schools in the county including Connelly School of the Holy Child, Frost Middle School, Herbert Hoover Middle School, Norwood School, and St. Andrew's Episcopal School, to name a few.

Drew Haskins, an eighth grader at Herbert Hoover Middle School, was declared the champion and Susanna Yau, a fifth grader at Fourth Presbyterian School, took second place. Haskins represented Montgomery County in Washington, D.C. this May during what is known as Bee Week--which lasted from May 24 through May 30. This year's D.C. event saw a record number of spellers--293--with Haskins making it all the way to the third round. Haskins shared with The Gazette that it was an experience he'll remember all his life.

Now that the event has been established, The Fourth Presbyterian School is looking forward to expanding the registration to many more schools. The date for next year's Montgomery County Regional Bee is set for Saturday, March 13, 2010, and will again be held in the Upper Room of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. All Montgomery County public and private lower and middle schools can register with Scripps at After winning their individual school bees, students will compete at the Regional Bee and the champion will represent Montgomery County in Washington, D.C. during Bee Week in May.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Janes at 301.765.8133 or