Van Holten 4th Grade student claims Spelling Bee championship

Van Holten 4th Grade student claims Spelling Bee championship

A 4th Grade student at the Van Holten Primary School did not need to take a chance when she correctly spelled the final word in the school’s Spelling Bee competition that was held on Friday, January 27.

Divya Rangwalla correctly spelled “Roulette” and that sealed her championship effort in the Van Holten Primary School’s 2023 Spelling Bee.

In a final Bee-Off that lasted 13 rounds, Divya held off a strong challenge from five of her classmates.

She credited her “love or reading” that enabled her to emerge as the Van Holten Spelling Bee champion.

The moderator of the event, Susan Harwick, who is an Elementary Teaching Specialist at Van Holten, was shocked at how long the competition was kept alive by the students.

“We got to the point where we started using words that we never studied,” Ms. Harwick revealed. “We never got this far.”

This marathon competition was attended in the gym by the contestants’ 4th Grade classmates and their teachers as well as parents, a few staff members and Principal George Rauh.

“They were so poised and engaged to take on this challenge,” Principal Rauh said. “They were truly amazing.”

Evan Frank was the last classmate standing before he was eliminated and Divya came through with the correct spelling of “Roulette.” 

The other four contestants were Arianna Davalos, Shaan Sahdev, Ethan Sheng and Xander Still.

“They all did such as great job,” Ms. Hawrick declared.

Divya will join the other winners from schools throughout Somerset County who will advance to the seventh annual Spelling Bee Spectacular that will be held on Saturday, March 4, in the Montgomery Township Municipal Building

 The Van Holten Spelling Bee runner-up, Evan Frank, is the alternate and will represent Van Holten if Divya can not attend the contest in Montgomery.

The county-wide competition that is sponsored by Scripps National Spelling Bee will be contested in the council chambers of the municipal building that is located 100 Community Drive in Montgomery. The event will begin at 1 p.m.

 The eventual winner from that contest in Montgomery will move on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in late spring. There will be additional prizes for the winner and the runners-up. For more information, please email



Click HERE for information on BRRSD Referendum 2023