New Albany News

Middle school students compete in spelling bee

New Albany fifth-graders were anxious and excited Jan. 10 as they waited for their turns to attempt to spell a word correctly.

Librarian Kerry Cramer prepared the 52 fifth-graders by explaining how the spelling bee works and then had them spell three-letter words in a practice round.

Once the practice round was finished, the students had to spell much harder words, such as quiche, talc, loam, fiend and weird.

Those five words and seven others eliminated 12 students from the first round of the spelling bee, which was a single-elimination tournament.

The fourth-graders competed in the same way Jan. 10 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

In the end, only two fifth-graders and two fourth-graders could advance to the districts spelling bee Feb. 7.

The fourth-grade winner was Jonah Fox, with Olivia Martin coming in second.

Devin Das was the fifth-grade winner and Swathi Vudatala was the runnerup.

Chris Briggs, the 4-5 principal, said three students from each classroom in the fourth and fifth grades were chosen to compete against others in their grade.

Cramer said the middle school held its competition in the form of a written test. The best spellers in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades will compete Feb. 7 against the fourth- and fifth-grade winners.

During the district spelling bee, Cramer said, the first-round words would be the simplest, with words becoming more difficult as the rounds progress.

Words used will be taken from a list that begins at a fourth-grade reading level and increases to a high school level as rounds progress.

The winner of the district spelling bee will advance to the central Ohio regional spelling bee March 12, where the student will compete against students from other districts. The location has not yet been announced.

The fourth- and fifth-grade spelling bees were operated like the regional spelling bee, with students repeating the word before spelling it to ensure they heard it correctly.

The students were not allowed to use a pencil and paper, which is another regional rule.

Cramer said the elementary competition helps students build their confidence and public-speaking skills.

"They also learn a new vocabulary and can connect Latin and English words, gaining a more global knowledge of language," he said.

Cramer said students also benefit from memorizing new words.