Students battle it out for a spell

Four will advance to district bee after winning at their schools

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 12/30/19

Students from Running Creek Elementary, Singing Hills Elementary, Elizabeth Middle School and Legacy Academy held their school spelling bees in December, and four students, one from each school, will …

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Students battle it out for a spell

Four will advance to district bee after winning at their schools

Posted

Students from Running Creek Elementary, Singing Hills Elementary, Elizabeth Middle School and Legacy Academy held their school spelling bees in December, and four students, one from each school, will advance to the district spelling bee on Jan. 14. Winners from that competition will go on to compete at the state level.

The Elizabeth Middle School competition turned into a marathon spell-off, with the final two contestants competing a whopping 57 rounds, before Sierra Schulthies, 13, won the battle by spelling the word “policy.” The competition advanced beyond the words students had been given to study, and officials used a secondary list of words the students had not seen before. The second-place winner, Mylie Hicks, misspelled a word, and Schulthies was given the championship word, which she spelled correctly and took home the first place prize.

“I was a little nervous, but got more nervous when we ran out of words on the list and had to go to the list we didn't get to study for,” said Schulthies.

Schulthies said she took the standard studying approach, and spent several hours at a time memorizing the two pages of words leading up to the competition, and is already studying for the district competition.

Finn Quinby, 11, a fifth-grader at Running Creek Elementary, won his competition by spelling the word “commonplace” properly.

“I was not as nervous as the first year I did it,” said Quinby. “This is my second year and my first year was terrifying.”

Quinby's strategy was to spell each word on the list three times. Once he mastered each word, he crossed it out, and if he didn't get it correct he circled it and kept working on it until he got it right.

Lincoln Beach, 10, a fifth-grader at Singing Hills Elementary, took home first-place honors after spelling the word “juncture” correctly.

“I was nervous,” said Beach. “I think I studied for about a month. We would study the list from the smallest words all the way to the biggest words.”

Beach said he intends to use the same strategy to study for the district competition, but intends to do the smallest to biggest and then the whole list again.

Legacy Academy winner Calla Crookshanks, 11, won the competition with the championship word “entity,” and used a more technical strategy while studying.

“I studied the two days before, because I thought it would stick in my brain better if I had it right then,” said Crookshanks, a sixth-grader. “I use an app called A+ Spelling. I have to put the words into the app, and then I do the whole list. The ones you get wrong it keeps testing you on. We used the app in fifth grade a lot.”

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