LEES CREEK — This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Spelling Bee at East Clinton Middle School. After 17 rounds of climactic competition at the school, sixth-grader McKayla Long earned top honors by correctly spelling the word “disengage.”
Seventh-grader John Orchard and sixth-grader Austin Hodson finished close behind, tying for the runner-up position.
To determine finalists for the annual school-wide bee, students recently participated in preliminary Spelling Bee competitions in their English Language Arts classes. Grade-level finalists were then selected based on performance in those classroom bees.
To help prepare for the school-wide bee, students were provided with potential word lists to study.
Twelve school finalists represented their respective grade levels for the chance to become the top speller in the school, and earn the opportunity to move on to the next level of competition — the regional spelling bee. The school-wide Spelling Bee was held Jan. 12 at the middle school in front of a crowd of both students and parents.
School finalists included sixth-graders Kaleb Bauman, Austin Hodson, McKayla Long and Eleina Tillman; seventh-graders Jayden Brown, Lex Frye, Teddy Murphy and John Orchard; and eighth-graders Jon Fast, Paige Fetters, Van Frye and Josie Runk. Eighth-grader Katie Carey was selected as an alternate.
During each round of the school-wide bee, individual students were presented specific words to spell. To assist them in reciting the correct spelling, students could ask for a word to be repeated, ask for the definition or part of speech of the word, ask that the word be used in a sentence, and/or ask for the word’s origin.
There is newfound and reaffirmed value in the bee each year. “ECMS’ learning goals,” ECMS Principal Robbin Luck states, “stretch beyond the content of our core classes. They encompass traits that are taught through what is called the ‘hidden curriculum’ of traits for our champions and ambassadors to make contributions in all areas of life.
“I collect feedback from our students, as well as our staff, on the spelling bee with what worked great and what we need to improve to be better each and every day. We promote student voice and choice in their learning to grow our students as contributing members of our Astro family and building champions and ambassadors,” said Luck.
School winner McKayla Long will receive a free one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online for Kids from Encyclopedia Britannica. As the Spelling Bee Champion for the school, Long has advanced to completing an online qualifying test to see whether she will qualify for participation in the semifinal WCPO 9 On Your Side Regional Spelling Bee competition to be held March 17 at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
Curt Bradshaw, Coordinator of Gifted Services with the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC), served as moderator for the bee. Regina Gerber, Gifted Intervention Specialist with the Southern Ohio ESC, helped to organize and judge the event.
Also working behind the scenes to help students prepare for the competition and judge the event were ECMS English Language Arts educators Howard Arthur, Andrea Davis, Mistie Manicho and Peggy McPherson-Jeffries.
The National Spelling Bee was founded in 1925 and has been held continuously since, except for a three-year hiatus during the World War II years of 1943 to 1945.