Scrabble coach named ‘Person of the Year’

Cornelia Guest, a Scrabble coach at the Ridgefield Library, was named the North American Scrabble Players Association’s (NASPA) Person of the Year this summer. 

Cornelia Guest, a Scrabble coach at the Ridgefield Library, was named the North American Scrabble Players Association’s (NASPA) Person of the Year this summer.

Guest was honored at the North American Scrabble Championship in Buffalo in August, and was recognized for her work coaching and expanding opportunities for youth players in the United State.

Guest, who heads the NASPA Youth Committee and sits on the NASPA advisory board, runs two youth Scrabble programs in Fairfield County — one club in Brookfield, and another at Ridgefield Library.

Her students have won the Scrabble Championship for the last four years, earning over $40,000 in prize money.

Student awards

Two of Guest’s students, including Ridgefielder Ian Whitehurst, were awarded NASPA Youth Achievement prizes in Buffalo.  

These awards are given to the students amassing the most points in tournaments in the year leading up to the North American Scrabble Championship. Over 750 students across the United States and Canada competed for these awards.

Ian, a rising sixth grader at East Ridge Middle School, won the Elementary School Youth Achievement Award for the second year in a row. He competed in seven tournaments, finishing first in three of them, including the Challenge division of the North American School Scrabble Championship, where he and his partner, Kevin Zeng, won all nine of their games and $1,000 each.

Six other Ridgefield Library students finished in the top 15: Jake Nadol (2nd); Justin Le (6th); Jayin Palicha (8th); and Nathaniel Campos, Richi Palicha, and Will Knispel (tied for 13th).

Noah Kalus, a rising senior from New Paltz, won the High School Youth Achievement Award. Noah, a graduate of the Ridgefield Library program, competed in 12 tournaments, winning five of them.

In the middle school division, three Ridgefield Library students placed in the top 15: 2018 NASSC Champion Jeffrey Pogue (4th) and Joey Archer and Spencer Soleiman (tied for 13th).

Guest’s Ridgefield Library Scrabble program meets Tuesday nights from 6-7, starting in September. Players from third through eighth grade are welcome.  

Contact Guest at CorneliaSGuest@gmail.com for more information.

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