2 spelling champs from Bridgeport head to statewide spelling bee competition

Two spelling champions from Bridgeport are heading to a statewide spelling bee in West Hartford this Sunday.
Matthew Marques, 12, is a sixth grader at High Horizons Magnet School, and 13-year-old Ivana Rajkumar, an eighth grader at Discover Magnet, will be representing Bridgeport at the Scripps Connecticut Spelling Bee.
Both won school competitions and will join 50 other students from across the state in a regional matchup.
"I get motivated to achieve something, to accomplish something if it's my goal," said Rajkumar.
"I'm going to be really honest with you. I did not think I was going to win the school spelling bee," said Marques. "I was very nervous because I thought the seventh and eighth graders would have studied a lot, and they would have taken this more seriously."
Both students say they're thrilled to be representing Bridgeport.
"Now that you say it's the biggest city in Connecticut, it really helps me visualize how important this is, so I'm very happy," said Marques. "Everything I do in school I always dedicate it to my grandpa since he was a principal."
Marques' grandfather was his mentor and died during the pandemic. He says he'll be proud to dedicate his efforts in this competition both to him and to the city he and his family are proud to call home.
This is an especially important event, school officials say, for the city of Bridgeport, because it is a chance for Connecticut's biggest urban center to shine and be recognized.