Sandy Creek students compete in Spelling Bee

Students at Sandy Creek Middle School in grades 5-8 competed on December 3 in an early round of the Scripps Spelling Bee.

The contest, whose purpose is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabulary and proper English language usage is the nation’s largest and longest-running spelling bee.

Pictured are the top three spellers from Sandy Creek Middle School determined at the building level spelling bee held Dec. 3. Thirteen students in grades 5-8 participated after qualifying for the bee with a written test, before vying for the top spots in the recent competition. From left are: Jodi Whitney, 8th grade English teacher and coordinator of the district bee; Oren McDougal, first place; McKenzie Kwak, third place; Conner Waggoner, second place; and Carolyn Shirley, Sandy Creek Middle School Principal.

The Middle School contest was coordinated by 8th grade English teacher Jodi Whitney and assisted by 7th grade English teacher Matt White and was used to determine who will representative the district as they advance to next level of the spelling bee.

To prepare, students used study guides and word lists provided by Scripps and their teachers. Thirteen students, who had qualified by first taking a written spelling test, took the stage in the auditorium in front of fellow students, teachers and family members to begin the challenge.

After round one, no students were eliminated, but with each progressive round, the words became increasingly more difficult. And then there were two. The final two students, Oren McDougal, 7th grade, and Conner Waggoner, 8th grade, went back and forth for several rounds before McDougal successfully spelled the word succumb after Waggoner had incorrectly attempted the word. McDougal then correctly spelled the winning word: monumental. For McDougal, it was indeed a monumental moment as he was named Sandy Creek Middle School Spelling Champion.

McDougal, as top speller, moves on to the Post Standard/WCNY Spelling Bee to be held on January 19th in Syracuse. The Scripps National Spelling Bee Week will take place May 26 through June 1, 2013, near Washington, D.C.