Annika Kinser takes first place in Worthington Middle School spelling bee
Fourteen fifth and sixth grade students competed in Tuesday morning's bee.
WORTHINGTON — More than a dozen Worthington Middle School fifth and sixth graders competed in a local spelling bee Tuesday morning and, in the end, Annika Kinser spelled "franchise" correctly to take top honors. She, along with the second- through fifth-place finishers, will now advance to the next round of competition.
Fifth-grade teacher Hollie Hibma and sixth-grade teacher Olivia Weidert took turns delivering words to the students, who progressed through words like "tumbling," "pedestrian", and "taillights".
“You guys have done an amazing job. Just being here means that you are the top 14 spellers in all of the fifth and sixth grades combined,” Hibma told students. “Be proud of getting to this point.”
Former teachers Kris Besel and Rich Besel served as judges for the spelling bee, keeping track of misspelled words and elimination points. Once a student spelled two words incorrectly, they were eliminated from the competition. They then joined the audience, and continued watching.
Round after round, the ranks began to thin. After an hour of spelling, and seven eliminations, two spellers entered a “spell-off” for sixth place, in order to serve as the alternate.
A second spell-off between Kinser and Aysha Thammalong concluded with Kinser’s first-place victory by correctly spelling the word “franchise”. Thammalong was awarded second place.
“I was really nervous, but once I got through the first round and didn’t mess up I was like, this isn’t so bad,” said Kinser. As an avid reader, she said her love of books has really helped her learn a lot of different words, which benefited her during Tuesday’s spelling bee.
“I see all these big words when I’m reading, and they all sort of stick in my head,” she said.
Talan Kremer, Elizabeth Anderson and Fredrick Davis will also represent Worthington Middle School at the Southwest Minnesota Spelling Bee, hosted at Luverne Middle School on April 22. Zahara Gebremariam will serve as the alternate.
“We’re very excited for this group and proud of the kids who participated,” said Hibma. Each contestant received a small prize for their participation — a pocket-sized dictionary to keep all their favorite words close at hand.