The Optimist Club of West St. Paul hosted its 26th annual ISD 197 spelling bee in the auditorium of Two Rivers High School earlier this week. All district public elementary and middle schools participated, with a turnout of 35 students between the two brackets.
Each competitor received a medal for reaching the district level, and each school also had a champion crowned:
- Moreland: Emma Edlund
- Garlough: Ethan Emond
- Pilot Knob: Liam Harrison
- Mendota: Finlay Vaupel
- Somerset: Greta Ormseth*
Middle School Winners:
- Friendly Hills: Isabella Skidmore*
- Heritage: Liesl Mattson
*Ormseth and Skidmore were also crowned district grand champions in their respective brackets. Both champions will have the opportunity to continue to regionals.
How the Spelling Bee Worked
Every bee student was selected through their school’s spelling bee or via teacher recommendation. Students were allowed to write out the word they were given on provided paper before presenting their answers orally. There was no time limit on preparing an answer or spelling a word. If they spelled incorrectly while speaking, they were disqualified with one exception: if everyone in their school spelled their word wrong, they would all compete in a tiebreaker for the title of school champion. Additionally, if everyone in a round spelled their word wrong, no one would be disqualified. Thankfully, this did not happen this year.
The district winners were decided when all but one competitor had been disqualified. To secure their win, however, they needed to complete a one-word championship round; the pronouncer gave them a single word, and if they misspelled it, the disqualified person or people from the previous round rejoined, and the competition continued.
Ormseth claimed her quick three-round victory by successfully spelling the word “masa” in her one-word championship round. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, masa is “a dough used in Mexican cuisine (as for tortillas and tamales) that is made from ground corn soaked in a lime and water solution.” In her round, Skidmore successfully spelled “augment,” which means “to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense.” The other school champions’ winning words were: “ballast” for Edlund, “kneeling” for Emond, “vertical” for Harrison, “intertribal” for Vaupel, and “supremacy” for Mattson.
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