Sidelines & Stages Foundation Hosts First Ever Essex County Spelling Bee

by The Village Green
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From Sidelines & Stages:

For years Essex County students have not been able to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on the regional or national scale. This changed on Saturday March 7th, 2020. The Sidelines & Stages Foundation (SSF) hosted the first Essex County Spelling Bee at Kipp Life Academy in Newark, NJ. School champions from all over Essex County competed for a chance to represent Essex County on the ESPN televised Scripps National Spelling in Washington D.C. 

There were spelling champions from 10 different elementary schools. Lucas Jackowski, a 4th grader (at the time) from Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, NJ would end up taking the championship trophy home. Key board members from the SSF who contributed to making this event possible were Nicole Lewis, John Reed and Coobee Darcelin. They are also Maplewood-South Orange natives and Columbia High School graduates. 

This will be the SSF’s second consecutive year sponsoring the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Due to the complications of COVID-19, Scripps has made accommodations to still make the spelling bee possible for schools. The SSF is inviting back all of their school participants to enroll in the Spelling Bee again. They are also inviting any Essex county elementary/middle school that wishes to enroll before the deadline of December 20th. It is a great opportunity for a determined and lucky student to receive an all expenses paid trip to National Harbor where they will be featured on the ESPN televised Scripps National Spelling Bee. For more information about the spelling bee enrollment, please visit

The Sidelines & Stages Foundation is a NJ-based nonprofit with the goal of creating more opportunities for students through arts, athletics and enrichment. If you wish to help push their mission forward, visit to see how you can get involved whether it be donations or volunteering.

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