Catonsville resident places second in Baltimore Spelling Bee

Danyah Imam, a sixth-grader at Al-Rahmah School on Johnnycake Road, placed second out of 53 participants in the Baltimore Spelling Bee on Saturday March 16.

Imam was eliminated in round 26 of the eighth annual event.

The participants spelled 175 words before Abby Pepin, a seventh-grader from Monkton who is home-schooled, was declared the winner.

The victory came after 16 rounds, during which the competition's final three participants matched each other in spelling words correctly.

"It was amazing," said Troy Lauer, the coordinator for the event, which was hosted by Learn It Systems and Towson University.

After Danyah misspelled the word "facetious," Pepin correctly spelled the word "peccadillo" in the 27th round, securing the title.

"I was nervous because I was wishing to get my words right and get at least second or first," Danyah, a Catonsville resident, said.

"At least I got that part," she said.

Danyah also did well in the spelling bee last year, placing second only to her younger brother, Shaheer Imam.

Shaheer transferred schools last year and, because his new school did not host a spelling bee, he did not qualify for the Baltimore Spelling Bee this year.

"It was kind of different (this year) because last year I got used to having my brother there," Danyah said. "He kind of cheered me on."

After studying about 1,000 words in preparation for the competition last weekend, Danyah said she and her family are pleased with the outcome.

"They were happy for me, because at least I got one of the top three," Danyah said.

"Since my brother won last year, they wanted me to get at least the top three and that I did," she said.

Laura Abdur-Rahman, principal at Al-Rahmah School, was thrilled to hear of Danyah's win and said she predicts great things from her in the future.

"We're very excited," Abdur-Rahman said. "It's kind of almost beginning to be expected."

She said she thinks Danyah could qualify for the national spelling bee next year.

"It's very exciting for us and we are hoping that soon one of our students will actually go all the way and be the National Spelling Bee winner," Abdur-Rahman said.

"I think next year will be it," she said.

Claudia Brush and Nandini Vaishnav of Arbutus Middle School and Kayla Diaz and Jannat Gill also qualified for the competition.

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