It was a thrilling competition for the annual county-wide spelling bee last Tuesday. The bee went 25 rounds, with two competitors sparring for the championship and the chance to compete in the regional bee next month. Jerardo Joaquin and Samielle Baldillo went several close rounds with one another before Baldillo at last claimed the victory.
“It was such a competitive bee,” said Assistant Superintendent Myra Cox, who has assisted with the bee for the past five years. “This was undoubtedly the stiffest competition we’ve had and I think the final two competitors were just really vying for the title.”
Cox said as the announcer calling each word for the spelling bee, she became increasingly more anxious as the rounds continued.
“It really made the bee very exciting,” she said. “In five years in the bee I’ve never seen it go 25 rounds and I think that just proves that our students came very prepared for the bee. I’m proud of them.”
Words in the bee included brackish, bandersnatch, academy, zenith, foist, frolic and magnolia. There were also a number of food-related words including quesadilla, sushi, pretzel, miso, macaroni, chutney and quiche. The final words that did trip up the last two competitors included vendetta and strudel. The final championship word spelled correctly by Bandillo was yet another food word, praline.
Winner Samielle Bandillo, a fifth-grader at East Bend Elementary, said it was exciting though she was a little bit nervous during the bee.
“Sometimes they don’t even sound like they’re spelled,” she said of some of the words in the bee. She said she would be doing a lot of studying to prepare for the regional bee, including studying the definition of words as she said that often helped in spelling them correctly.
Chris Lyon, Yadkin County Schools human resources director, who served as one of the judges for the bee, also said it was a thrilling event.
“It was a little bit nerve wracking,” Lyon said. “It normally doesn’t go this long or have this many words that we have to judge.” He said judging the bee required paying close attention to how each student spelled the words to be sure they heard that they were spelled correctly. He also said he was worried they would run out of words as the bee continued 25 rounds.
Despite living in a digital age with spellcheck and auto correct, Yadkin County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin said spelling is still a very important skill for students.
“We want our students to be well spoken, we want them to be articulate, we want them to be competent writers,” Martin said. He also said he was pleased at how well the students represented the entire county as well as their individual schools.
“I love seeing the kids represent their schools. These kids have taken an interest in a very academic type thing. They prepare for this competition much as one of our athletes would prepare for a game. They practice and they study and they think about it and they work and they work, all in preparation for this day,” Martin said. “I’m glad we have a spelling bee for our county schools because it gives kids a chance to shine in an academic way.”
Also competing in the spelling bee were Tyler Hilton, Emily Tyree, Bryson Helton, Cooper Hennings, McKinley Wood, Allison Michelle Pardue, Nathan Hampton and Carson Sellers.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.