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4 Rhode Island Students to Compete in U.S.  BANANAGRAMS Grand Final

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Four Rhode Island students and 12 students in total, are headed to the live grand final of the inaugural U.S. BANANAGRAMS challenge in Rhode Island on April 9. The 12 defeated 10,000 other 4-6th graders throughout New England to a place in the final and will now compete to be crowned America's first ever "Top Banana." 

“I’m delighted that the Challenge has proved so popular and I’m really excited about meeting the 12 finalists on April 9. The BANANAGRAMS Challenge is the result of years of hard work and is something my father and I talked about when we first invented the game back in 2006. Part of the reason BANANAGRAMS was born was out of a desire to help kids play with words, which ultimately enhances their appreciation of language and their grasp of spelling and literacy. But more than that, the game is about having fun – and there’s going to be a lot of that at the Grand Final," said aid Rena Nathanson, Bananagrams’ CEO.  

The 12 Students are: 

  • Keely Cahoon, 5th Grade, Ralph D. Butler Elementary School, Avon, MA
  • Grant Culton, 4th Grade, Hampden Meadows School, Barrington, RI
  • Braedan Curran, 5th Grade, E. G. Molin Upper Elementary School, Newburyport, MA
  • Hope Gee, 6th Grade, Archie R. Cole Middle School, East Greenwich, RI
  • Connor Gonyea, 6th Grade, Trinity Catholic Academy, Southbridge, MA
  • Sebastien Martinez, 4th Grade, Yarmouth Elementary School, Yarmouth, ME
  • Jay Nagpaul, 6th Grade, Worcester Academy, Worcester, MA
  • Julia Pulley, 6th Grade, Perry Hill School, Shelton, CT
  • Ania Ricci, 5th Grade, Kingston Intermediate School, Kingston, MA
  • Julia Shellard, 5th Grade, Oak Lawn Elementary, Cranston, RI
  • Kaede Shimamura, 4th Grade, Lyndon Town School, Lyndon, VT
  • Jaida Tillinghast, 4th Grade, George J Peters, Cranston, RI


The finalists will compete against each other in rounds of BANANAGRAMS before the overall winner is presented with a specially designed trophy and $1,000 for his or her school by Rena Nathanson, inventor of the anagram game. 

The final will take place at the Omni Providence Hotel. 

The Challenge 

Over 10,000 children in hundreds of schools throughout New England were given the chance to compete in the first official U.S. BANANAGRAMS tournament for schools. 

For more information, click here. 


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