Doing What’s Best for Kids

Westwood Student Secures Third Place at National Spelling Bee Championships

Posted on: News Release

(Fort McMurray, AB, June 15, 2022) Can you spell lethologica? Do you know what it means? Don’t worry, we can’t and don’t either. But, Ali Usman, who is only 13 not only does, but spelled it correctly to secure third place at the National Spelling Bee Championships! The 35th Annual Championships were held in Toronto on June 12, 2022. Lethologica was the tie-breaker word that made Ali a winner in the Intermediate Category (Ages 12-14). It means the “inability to remember a particular word or name.”

Ali, who is a grade 8 student at Westwood Community High School also secured first place in the intermediate category this May at the Spelling Bee of Canada - Wood Buffalo chapter’s competition. He was delighted to be in Toronto and for his top three finish.

“I’m really excited and happy I won at the national competition and represented Wood Buffalo. I’m thankful to all the volunteers, my parents, and directors at the Spelling Bee of Canada, Wood Buffalo chapter, which gave me this wonderful opportunity. I’m also thankful to FMPSD for partnering with the Spelling Bee of Canada.”

Ali went through 10 rounds at the competition, and says lethologica was the toughest word he spelled, before encountering “endotracheal,” (which means placed within the trachea) that caused his elimination.

He first got interested in spelling bee competitions during elementary grades at Fort McMurray Islamic School (FMIS), which hosts annual competitions.

“FMIS would host a spelling bee competition and I would love to compete every year. After elementary school ended, I participated in the Spelling Bee of Canada local competition to pursue my endeavours. Eventually, I was able to make it to nationals and won this year,” enthused Ali, who is planning to complete a computer science degree at the University of Waterloo.

Tifanie Book, Principal, Westwood Community High School, is proud of Ali.

“Congratulations to Ali for this amazing achievement. Westwood is proud to have one of the top three spellers in Canada at our school, representing Fort McMurray. Ali is an excellent student in all subjects and to have this recognition at a national level is a true honour.”

Annalee Nutter, Superintendent, FMPSD has been involved with organizing the local spelling bee competitions since they were started in 2018. And, has seen Ali’s performances in-person.

“To watch Ali, is to watch laser-sharp focus, dedication, and the zeal for success in action. It has been a pleasure to see his growth as a champion speller, and now this amazing national honour. Congratulations on this fantastic achievement, Ali, we know you are on your way to monumental success.”

C-o-n-g-r-a-t-u-l-a-t-i-o-n-s Ali!


For more information, please contact:
Kiran Malik-Khan
Communications Consultant