Coudersport Elementary students strut their stuff in spelling bee
Multiple syllables and illogical vowel combinations that are unique to the English language were no match many of the two dozen fourth- through sixth-graders who strutted their stuff as qualifiers for the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee local school championships.
When the word had been spelled, 10-year-old Emily Laurore successfully defended her title. The daughter of Dr. Max and Guerline Laurore, the sixth-grader will travel to Pittsburgh in March to compete in the state finals, featuring local winners in grades four through eight.
Pennsylvania’s winner will be awarded an expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete in the National Spelling Bee in June.
Runner-up was Ricky McCord, while Jillian Updegraff placed third. Also qualifying for the finals were Daniel Frame, Katie Dunn, Kolby VanWhy, Jonathan Barroqueiro, Rain Caldwell, Leah Doyle, Nick Clouser, Logan Rogers, Cormac Ramsey, Hayley Gaskins, Nathaniel Ianson, Jonathan Lent, Gabe Wargo, Blaine Osborne, Claudia Miller, Chandler Lowe, Morgan Wright, Haley Keck, Brynen Kisiel, Mason Klesa and Ayden Seeley.
Students, administrators, teachers and parents attended the final round, where the word “hexameter” decided the title.
“I did my best, and God did the rest,” said a beaming Emily Laurore, who approaches spelling with a passion.
She has been fascinated by spelling bees since she was four years old, when she watched the National Spelling Bee on television. Her goal was to get to that stage herself some day, and last year she got close with a strong showing in the state finals.
The word that dashed those hopes: cronyism.
But to get that far, she had to negotiate a minefield that included diphthong, zinnia, fusillade, Qatari, languid and Bhalu.
She has polished her skills by studying roots, suffixes and alternative pronunciations.
Local competition was sponsored by the Coudersport PTSA, which donated $300 to cover the winner’s travel expenses to Pittsburgh. Elementary School Guidance Counselor Terri Shaffer coordinated the bee.
Returning this year to help were three retired faculty members, Linda Castano, pronouncer; Jeanne Mancia, judge; and Kay Heffner, judge. School Superintendent Alanna Huck, Elementary Principal Sean Reams and several teachers also pitched in.