Spelling Bee competition is ‘intense’
Harper Smith takes first at the Sabetha PTO Spelling Bee with her winning word – “curtail.” She and the six other qualifiers will advance to the Nemaha County Spelling Bee on Jan. 18, 2020.
Though it was not one of the words pronounced, “intense” was definitely a word to describe the 2019-20 Sabetha PTO Spelling Bee held Friday, Dec. 13, at Sabetha Middle School.
Twenty-four contestants in grades fifth through eighth vied for a chance to compete in the Nemaha County Spelling Bee. It took 280 words and 37 rounds before Harper Smith was declared champion.
Smith, an SMS eighth-grade student, took the spot as top speller, correctly spelling “curtail” for the win. The competition was down to her and seventh-grade student Sophie Shafer. The two spelled 30 words back and forth. When Shafer misspelled “giddiness,” Smith correctly spelled it, followed by her winning word, “curtail.”
After the 15th round saw seven spellers eliminated, eight spellers remained to battle it out to determine the top seven who would advance to the County Bee.
The top seven qualifiers were determined after 12 rounds of the eight spellers battling back and forth. Since only seven can advance, only one speller could be eliminated with all other seven spellers correctly spelling their words in that round.
Round 18 saw sixth-grade student Kenton Farwell take a seat, bringing the competition down to the seven qualifiers — Smith, Shafer, Jayce Rebant, Kylah Edelman, Logan Ploeger, Mya Grimes and Bayley Wasinger.
The 19th round saw Grimes and Wasinger out, followed by Ploeger and Edelman out in the 20th round. With only Rebant, Shafer and Smith remaining, the three competed for three rounds before Rebant narrowly missed “influential” in the 23rd round.
“These students proved themselves by spelling some of the toughest words I have pronounced in the six or so years I have been a part of the competition,” said pronouncer Leslie Scoby. “I know that I should have studied more words because we got to the part of the list that I hadn’t looked at very closely. I congratulate all the students and good luck to those who will represent our school at the Nemaha County Bee.”
Judges for this year’s spelling bee were Bill Simpson, Marvin Kohlmeier and Von Lauer. Sabetha PTO coordinated the event.
Smith, who was “surprised” to win the PTO Spelling Bee, said she was nervous for the competition.
“I was slightly nervous because I don’t like to spell in front of people,” she said.
Smith said she spends a lot of time reading, and becomes familiar with many words and their spellings when she is reading. Her favorite subject in school is Language Arts.
“It is an honor to be in the spelling bee, and I will do my best when representing Sabetha at the Nemaha County Spelling Bee,” she said.
Second-place speller Shafer is no stranger to the spelling bee, having competed in the County Bee twice before. She won the PTO bee when she was in fifth and sixth grades.
Smith has competed in prior PTO Bees, but this will be her first county competition.
Nemaha County Bee
The top seven spellers will compete at the Nemaha County Spelling Bee at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at the Nemaha County Courthouse in Seneca.
Classroom winners qualifying for this year’s PTO Spelling Bee were:
Eighth grade: Harper Smith, Kalvin Evans, Mya Grimes, Camryn Duryea, Brayden Meredith and Bayley Wasinger. Alternates were Taylor Menold and Zach Kibbe.
Seventh grade: Sophie Shafer, Landon Meyer, Isaac Hartter, Kylah Edelman, Krista Edelman and Erin Boltz. Alternate was Tristan Schmid.
Sixth grade: Emily Arnold, Chloe Detweiler, Kenton Farwell, Charlie Lukert, Ava Payne and Isabelle Scoby. Alternate was Dean Williams.
Fifth grade: Logan Ploeger, Lincoln Menold, Micah Lang, Camden Wittwer, Jayce Rebant and Cody Mitchell. Alternates were Trinity Meyer, Ciara Atwood and Celine Rodriguez.
Top classroom spellers for kindergarten through fourth grade were:
Fourth grade: Reed Toedman, Gracyn Meyer and Hadden Bachelor.
Third grade: Emmett Kroll, Easton Renyer and Kyson Kaeb.
Second grade: Addie Stolzenberger, Eli Rebant and Brielle Hertzel.
First grade: Abel Rudin, Malachi Maas, Emery Kellenberger and Huck Lowdermilk.
Kindergarten: Isabella Tangeman, Elizabeth Edwards and Alexis Ploeger.