Gardnerville girl among county’s best spellers |

Gardnerville girl among county’s best spellers

by Amy Roby
Ranchos Roundup
Spelling Bee winners Giana Zinke, Christina Thomas, Annika Brooks, Morgan Salvador, Lilly Dingman and Jade Chapman
Amy Roby

A Carson Valley Middle School student will be one of three students to represent Douglas County at the state Spelling Bee in March.

Sixth-grader Christina Thomas brought home the trophy. She was joined by Whittell High students, seventh-grader Morgan Salvador and eighth-grader Lilly Dingman.

More than 30 sixth through eighth-graders competed in the Douglas County Spelling Bee at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School on Wednesday in a quest to earn the distinction of top speller within their grade level.

Competitors included two home-school students and students from Carson Valley Middle School, George Whittell High School, Grace Christian Academy, Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, and Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

Alternates are Carson Valley sixth-grader Giana Zinke, Grace Christian seventh-grader Annika Brooks and Grace Christian eighth-grader Jade Chapman.

The extent of student participation in the Spelling Bee “really feels representative of the county,” said Romelle Cronin-Mack, executive director of Education Services for Douglas County School District.

The Nevada State Spelling Bee will be at The Meadows School in Las Vegas. The top speller from the Nevada state competition advances to the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

Pau-Wa-Lu Librarian Susan Bullard has been her school’s Spelling Bee pronouncer for the past 11 years. Prior to the start of Wednesday’s competition, she reviewed the official rules as outlined by Scripps. For clarification prior to spelling a word, students could request the word’s definition, its language of origin, part of speech, and alternate pronunciation, if any.

After two rounds of spelling, each remaining competitor fielded a vocabulary question. Students were given a word and tasked with selecting its correct definition from the choices provided. Spelling rounds then resumed until each grade level winner was determined.

Bullard said she enjoys the opportunity of pronouncing at each year’s site-based Spelling Bee and on alternating years when the countywide Bee is held at Pau-Wa-Lu. Carson Valley Middle will host the countywide Spelling Bee in 2020.

“It gives me a chance to be Alex Trebek,” Bullard said with a laugh. “It’s fun; a great competition.”

A number of participants were returning countywide Spelling Bee contenders.

“You can tell when the students have [previous Spelling Bee] experience,” said Cronin-Mack. “They are very calm at the microphone, asking questions, taking their time.”

Good sportsmanship and ample study preparation were evident throughout the duration of the Bee. The sixth graders had an especially vigorous competition, completing a total of 27 rounds before the winner was declared.

Cronin-Mack regards the Spelling Bee as a celebration of students’ abilities.

“[The duration of the] sixth-grade round was evidence that [the participants] really knew their words and the meanings,” she said.

The national Bee is in its 92nd year. The purpose of the Bee is “to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.”

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