Archive for Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spelling competition produces anxiety

February 25, 2007

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Eudora Middle School eighth-grader Austin Vickers looks to the announcer for his word during the Douglas County Spelling Bee as Broken Arrow School sixth-grader Miranda Rohn waits for her turn. Vickers took first place at the event Saturday at Southwest Junior High School.

Eudora Middle School eighth-grader Austin Vickers looks to the announcer for his word during the Douglas County Spelling Bee as Broken Arrow School sixth-grader Miranda Rohn waits for her turn. Vickers took first place at the event Saturday at Southwest Junior High School.

Miranda Rohn traces a word on her arm before spelling out loud at the bee.

Miranda Rohn traces a word on her arm before spelling out loud at the bee.

Miranda Rohn was a little morose Saturday, but that wasn't the word that knocked her out of the Douglas County Spelling Bee.

Miranda, a Broken Arrow School sixth-grader, was runner-up in the contest of 29 students representing elementary and middle schools in the county, when she added an extra "e" to "vigilante."

The competition ended when Austin Vickers correctly spelled the word "ablution."

"That's it, you're our man!" said Karen Cochran, a West Junior High School teacher who pronounced the words for the students.

"I'm pretty excited about this," said Austin, an eighth-grade Eudora Middle School student.

He'll go on to the state spelling bee March 24 at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka to compete with winners from other counties across Kansas.

Moments were tense during Saturday's competition, even coming to a halt at one point when one of the contestants threw up on stage.

"This is a first," said Deborah Summers Norwood, spelling bee coordinator.

But after the mess was cleaned up, the words continued to get harder and the students began striking out faster.

Some students took their time and used their fingers to write the words on their forearms before spelling them out loud; others just took a stab at it.

When it got down to Austin and Miranda, they went through about nine rounds of misspellings, including words "paroxysm," "despotism" and "quadruped," before the winner was announced.

"I feel kind of disappointed that I didn't win," said a teary-eyed Miranda after the contest.

But both her mother and teacher, Mindy Stahmer, had glowing smiles on their faces.

"She studied her heart out, so I am glad it paid off," said Stahmer, one of three spelling bee judges.

The Lawrence Journal-World sponsored the event.

Comments

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 1 month ago

I know people really get into competition in this country, but I think spelling bees are a perfect example of how things can be taken too far. How many of these kids are already eating Tums or taking Prilosec?
The world does NOT consist of only winners and losers.
Winning is gratifying, but not everything. Not winning does not make you a 'loser'.

Sharon Roullins 8 years, 1 month ago

My daughter was blessed to be one of the finalist's in Saturday's Spelling Bee and although she didn't win the overall competition, she is still a winner in my eyes. For more apparent reasons than most, she did her best in representing Kennedy Elementary School and the fact that she was part of the 30 champion winners made me the proudest. Could she have won? All things are possible but I didn't push her to the point where it was all she did was study. Kids have enough things to stress them out as it is. How kids handle things now can almost certainly be compared to how they will handle things as they get older. Life is competitive enough.

belle 8 years, 1 month ago

Keep in mind that it is stuff like this that DOES prepare children for the real world later on. Not all competition is bad. Children will get their feelings hurt, we can't shelter them from everything. If we do, they are going to be in trouble when they become adults.

compmd 8 years, 1 month ago

these are excellent events. intellectual challenges on the spot are good experiences to prepare for and learn from. here it isn't just about memorizing words, its about understanding how to make them.

believing that this sort of competition is bad or that life is competitive enough is both a complacent and regressive stance to take. how do we improve as a society if people do not continually challenge themselves and others? how do we evolve intellectually when nobody thinks they need to strive to discover something new?

woxy 8 years, 1 month ago

msshaden- Congratulations to your daughter! She did very well (as did every one of those kids who made it to this bee) and was very poised on stage.

Kids compete every day in sports and get their pictures in the newspaper. It's nice that occasionally an academic challenge is worth the newsprint and bandwith.

I am Miranda's mother, and I can assure you that "kind of disappointed" does not equal Tums or Prilosec. She tried her best, she didn't win first place, and her natural feeling was one of disappointment. Note that she did not say "I am crushed and don't know how I will face going to school on Monday."

And you're right: the world does not consist of only winners and losers. The world consist of triers and non-triers. I'm proud that my daughter is a trier!

woxy 8 years, 1 month ago

Ahem .... so much for spell check.

The world consistS of triers and non-triers. And, apparently, those who try, try again!

Sharon Roullins 8 years, 1 month ago

woxy, Congratulations to your daughter as well. She was an inspiration to my third grader. She thought it was fascinating that your daughter used her arm to spell out her words. She was very impressed. All the kids that made it to that point were definitely winners. Although she didn't come in first place, she should just be proud of the fact that she made it that far. I won the spelling bee when I was in the fourth and ninth grade but it wasn't such a big deal then; at least not where I was from. I will admit, even I had trouble spelling some of the words in the latter round :). Again, congratulations.

teardrops164 8 years, 1 month ago

Austin Vickers is very smart, and i was very suprised he won tho... but he was the Eudora Middle School champ 2 years running... so i can see how it happend so Way to go austin!!

EUDORA ROCKS!

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