Vincent Burton is the new Telegram Spelling Bee champion

Macdonald Drive student looks forward to taking family to Washington for Scripps bee

Published on February 25, 2017

Vincent Burton, a Grade 7 student at Macdonald Drive Junior High, is the winner of this year’s Telegram Spelling Bee.

©Louis Power/The Telegram

Vincent Burton threw his arms in the air in celebration as he was declared the winner of the 2017 Telegram Spelling Bee Saturday afternoon. His family rushed onstage to embrace him as soon as the trophy was in his hands.

His winning word was “parvitude,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “an extremely small or minute thing.” But his win was no small feat; after winning Macdonald Drive Junior High’s bee, the Grade 7 student had to take on 65 spelling champs from 33 schools around the province.

Students from Grade 4 to Grade 8 joined Vincent onstage at Holy Heart theatre Saturday to compete in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. In the end, he found himself facing off with Greta Warner, a Grade 8 student in Brother Rice Junior High, who won the bee in 2015.

As winner of The Telegram Spelling Bee, Vincent Burton will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this May.
Louis Power/The Telegram

The competition was tough, he said, but “it all has to end some way.”

In 14 rounds, Vincent said, he didn’t trip over any of the words given to him. He said his parents helped him study the word list leading up to the bee.

“I was really nervous, but really confident,” he told The Telegram.

His effort earned him a cheque for $2,000, a personal trophy and a trophy for his school. He also gained a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May, where he plans to take his whole family.

Joining Vincent and Greta in the 13th round was Grade 8 student Ranjeevan Ilango of St. Paul’s Junior High. Grade 5 student Tanish Bhatt of Vanier Elementary made it to round 12.

The bee was broadcast live on The Telegram’s Facebook page. Videos from the bee can be watched at

Twitter: @TelyLouis

Greta Warner, who won the bee in 2015, was the last person eliminated in this year’s Telegram Spelling Bee. Greta is a Grade 8 student at Brother Rice Junior High.

©Louis Power/The Telegram

Ranjeevan Ilango, a Grade 8 student at St. Paul’s Junior High, made it to the 13th round in The Telegram Spelling Bee Saturday.

©Louis Power/The Telegram

Molly MacEachern, a Grade 5 student at St. Mary’s Elementary, is given a practice word before the bee begins.

©Louis Power/The Telegram