OMAK – “Proud. P-r-o-u-d. Proud. That’s how we feel about the six youngsters from Oroville Elementary School who competed in the Okanogan County Spelling Bee (in Omak) on Thursday, Feb. 24,” said Gary Pringle, Oroville Elementary School Principal.
Six spellers from Okanogan County schools in grades four through six will be going on to the regional competition in Wenatchee next month. Two of those six will be from Oroville – sixth-grader Phoebe Poynter, the Oroville Elementary School champion, finished first in the sixth- grade bee and fifth-grader Sydney Thorndike finished second in her bee. Poynter’s winning word was “foyer.”
Competing in the county spelling bee were fourth-grader Alexis Allenby, fifth-grader Thorndike, sixth-graders Tyler Maynard, Narya Naillon, Joshua Talley and Poynter, seventh-graders Kaylha Blanchard and Kayla Mathis and eighth-grader Trevor Shearer. Each stood up in front of audiences and attempted to spell a variety of difficult words, along with others in their grades from throughout the county, according to Pringle.
Before spellers were dismissed to separate rooms for the grade level competitions, Teresa Ockinga, spelling bee coordinator from the Wenatchee World newspaper, went over the rules and gave spellers a chance to ask questions. Two Oroville spellers clarified how to spell words from other languages with letters unique to those languages and how to handle homonyms.
As the separate bees began, everyone started with a practice round to get used to the format of the bee and to shake off their nerves, according to Pringle, adding, if a word was misspelled, there was “no harm, no foul.”
Then the spellers got down to serious business as the pronouncers called out words like curmudgeon, arabesque and zoology. Oroville spellers did a great job of asking for more information when needed, such as having the word repeated, asking for the definition or hearing the word in a sentence, according to the principal.
“Our spellers looked relaxed and confident and attempted their words with attention to phonics and spelling rules,” said Pringle. “Our students performed well, some leaving early in the matches, others staying in and becoming engaged in a two-person spell-off. Those who misspelled took their losses gracefully, showing good sportsmanship.”
All competitors were awarded a ribbon and certificate. Poynter and Thorndike received rosette ribbons as well. These two Oroville girls will be getting ready to spell for a chance to go to the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee in Washington D. C.
“We hope that their persistence will pay off and we are very proud of their achievement,” said their elementary school principal.