Spelling their way to successWorthington Middle School students compete in annual spelling bee
WORTHINGTON — Samba — a rhythmic, Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin. S-a-m-b-a. Samba. With that word, sixth-grader Julia Luke spelled her way to the 2011 fifth- and sixth-grade spelling bee championship Tuesday at Worthington Middle School.
WORTHINGTON — Samba — a rhythmic, Brazilian ballroom dance of African origin. S-a-m-b-a. Samba.
With that word, sixth-grader Julia Luke spelled her way to the 2011 fifth- and sixth-grade spelling bee championship Tuesday at Worthington Middle School.
A total of 10 participants weaved their way through multiple rounds of words such as polychrome, tribology and nonchalant.
The fifth grade’s move to the middle school allowed this year’s event to combine both fifth- and sixth-graders into one spelling bee rather than two separate events as it had been in previous years.
Prior to the event, all fifth- and sixth-grade students took a 35-word exam in their communications arts classes.
The top 25 students were given a second exam with 35 new words. The top 10 students were selected to participate.
Students stood up one by one and spelled out the word they were given.
Some words were naturally easy, but words such as tariff, privilege and auditorium were challenges and eliminated some participants, leaving sixth-grade students Mary Abella and Luke as the final two participators.
After an intense spell-off with words such as noninterventionist, harness, gentry and cameo, Luke was named the top speller for the fifth and sixth grades.
The word samba was a challenge for Abella, who added an “h” into the word.
“I thought it was never going to end,” Abella said of the spell-off.
This was Abella’s second year participating in the event.
Luke also competed in the event last year. Although she admits spelling is not her favorite school subject, she has enjoyed participating in the bee and looks forward to the experience of competing at a higher level in the regional tournament.
“The spelling bee is a great opportunity to be able to shine and show their ability,” said Holli Hibma, a fifth-grade teacher at WMS. “It’s very fun to succeed in an area that they do well in.”
Students participating in Tuesday’s event have never known a school without a computer or the World Wide Web.
Technology has been filtered into every aspect of communication and their education.
The ability to spell words correctly is often overlooked because of the dependence on technology’s auto correction.
Nevertheless, educators still believe in the importance of being able to spell without a technological aide.
“It’s great to promote spelling,” said Paula Wolyniec, a sixth-grade teacher at WMS. “Even though we do have spell check and all of those devices on the computer, we all know that spell check doesn’t always work, and we need to have some basic rudimentary spelling knowledge in order for those things to even work.”
Students also earning honors were Noriden Mussa, third place; Alison Pospisil, fourth place; and Liz Hayenga, fifth place. Nathoe Vorasane will be the team’s alternate.
The top five students will compete at the Southwest Minnesota Spelling Bee on April 9 at Murray County Central West Elementary.
“We’ve got a great group of kids that we’re taking to Slayton,” Wolyniec added. “I’m confident that they will do well.”