By Thomas N.
Walt Clark Middle School in Loveland was the grounds of an epic battle of words known as: The Thompson School District Elementary Spelling Bee. The bee was separated into two sections; a written exam of 50 words and an oral round. Almost 200 students from 19 schools qualified for the written portion yet only 22 spellers made it to the oral round. The phrase “nerve racking” was used several times to describe the written competition. When asked about the difficulty of the written section, 4th grader Cambrei Hoffart of Ivy Stockwell Elementary said the following, “Some of the words, I knew some of them, and the rest of them were really new.” One Berthoud Elementary student mentioned that the hardest word for him on the written test was “rhinestone”. While an Ivy Stockwell student felt “oscillation” was his hardest word. Although, this student spelled oscillation just perfectly when asked.
Lisa Paradise, the 4-year Spelling Bee coach for Ivy Stockwell Elementary, when asked how her students prepare stated, “We met four times after school in January. A lot of it is up to the kids to study on their own. But we focus on reviewing the rules of the bee and understanding how it all works. We do practice oral rounds and play a lot of spelling games that involve the words.”
Anticipation was high as students waited for the written tests to be graded and the oral competitors announced. At last, students were called to the stage one by one. Five students from Ivy Stockwell Elementary and two students from Berthoud Elementary School qualified for the oral round: Chase Corlett, Ben Hardy, Adam Klein, Sophie Kubik, Brooke Preusse, Tate Rees, and Ty Williams.
The competition began with a practice round to help the participants understand the rules of the bee and help them to feel comfortable asking questions in the later rounds. Spellers were asked to spell uncomplicated three letter words like cat, mat, and dog. The students were prompted to ask questions about the practice words such as; the definition of the word, origin of the word and using the word in a sentence. It was obvious the students had fun as they asked for definitions on simple words such as dad and pie. It gave a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
The bee was judged by Carol Swalley; district Gifted and Talent Coordinator, Doug Stratton; member of Board of the Friends of the Loveland Public Library and father of four Thompson School District students, and Roger Boettcher; District Director of Learning Services. The spelling words were given to the students by returning pronouncer Steve Hanna. The students were challenged by difficult words and by round eleven only five students remained on stage. During round eleven three spellers each missed their words leaving two students left on the stage to compete. Since the Elementary Spelling Bee awards three places, the judges determined there would be a
spell-off between these three students to resolve who would be the 3rd place winner. Round thirteen included the correct spellings of labyrinth and cajolery. The following round brought one misspelled word leaving Chase Corlett and Brooke Preusse both from Ivy Stockwell Elementary to go head to head with “circuit” and one of the most difficult words of the morning: “anemone” until Chase Corlett came out on top as the third place winner. After this, the battle for first place began. Ami Jones and Megan Krumwiede of Stansberry Elementary School competed for 13 rounds of intense spelling action. In the end, Ami Jones was declared the winner after correctly spelling theory. The first, second and third place spellers received trophies and Stansberry Elementary School received the traveling trophy.
Berthoud Elementary Students
Coach: Diane McInturff
Ivy Stockwell Elementary Students
Coaches: Sue Ellis Lisa Paradise
Some of the words in the oral round included: