By DL PERRIN
THE GOSHEN NEWS
And then there were seven.
Throughout LaGrange County schools this past month, young students, with help from teachers, mentors and parents, have been studying and competing. The students were hoping to spell their way to the top spot and represent their school for LaGrange County’s fifth- through eighth-grade Scripps Spelling Bee.
The competitors are from the elementary and middle schools in LaGrange County. From Wollcott-Mills Elementary was Gabe Haines; Westview Elementary sent Lindsay Stoltzfus; Paige Wentworth represented Lakeland Middle School; Samantha Scigowski stood for Lima Brighton Elementary and Zane Rowden represented Prairie Heights.
The meet went exceptionally fast as there were only seven champions competing. After two rounds it was down to Parkside Elementary school’s fifth-grade student Sharandeep Kaur and Westview Junior High’s Morgan Kelly. The final word that put Kelly over the top was “forensics.”
When she won, Kelly had a look of surprise on her face but then gave the “thumbs up” sign.
“I only came in fourth last year,” Kelly said. “So this year I didn’t ask my parents to come, and look — I won.”
When asked to what she attributed her win this year, Kelly said, “I like to spell and I come by it naturally, plus my teacher did a great job.”
Kelly says from now until the March 17 statewide competition in Fort Wayne, she will be reading her word lists and studying hard. In the state meet, the competitors aren’t limited to any specific list. Any word in the dictionary can be used.
Kaur came in second, which makes her the official runner-up. If Kelly cannot make it to the meet in Fort Wayne then Kaur will compete. It was Kaur’s first meet and English is not her native language.
“I will be back to compete again next year,” Kaur said.
There are students from more than 40 schools competing in the Fort Wayne meet.
The state champion from that meet goes on to compete against 280 spellers in Washington D.C. from May 26 through June 1. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis. Local spelling bee sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also the Bahamas, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.