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Bee-ing good spellers

January 26, 2011

HOUGHTON - Spelling words such as "abate," "sincere" and "nephew," 34 fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Houghton-Portage Township School District took turns repeating and spelling words to win the chance to represent the school.

As part of the 36th annual Upper Peninsula Community Education Spelling Bee, the students who won their classroom spelling bee challenges sat patiently waiting for a word to spell in the Houghton Alumni Theatre Tuesday.

Fifth-grade student Isabel Valencia was sure she was going to miss a word early, and was shocked when she won the first place trophy after correctly spelling "colossus" and "renewal."

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Left, fifth-grade students Maggie Leukuma and Isabel Valencia and sixth-grade students Maggie Wang and Sarah Peng, hold their trophies they won at the 36th annual Upper Peninsula Community Education Spelling Bee at the Houghton-Portage Township School District Tuesday.

"I was kind of nervous and I got chills," she said.

Maggie Leukuma of the fifth grade won second place and Parker Romps is the alternate. Kyleigh Troxel was named the alternate for the sixth grade, while Sarah Peng won second place and Maggie Wang won first place.

"It was exciting, and I won last year, so I guess I have some kind of experience," Wang said.

The sixth-grade class spelled words such as "miserably," "diaphragm," "oblivious" and "zephyr." Wang won by correctly spelling words like "sightsee" and "ascribe."

Later in the afternoon Tuesday, students in the seventh and eighth grade took turns spelling words to win a chance to spell at the regional championship. Seventh-grade students spelled words such as "acquire," "tumbler," "flesh" and "toaster," while eighth-grade students spelled words such as "neglect," "darken," "hockey," "unarmed" and "legend" and all but two went out on words such as "accessory."

Seventh-grade student Ben Russell won for the seventh-grade class while Colleen Toorongian came in second and Phoebe Hu was named the alternate.

Colin Campbell won for the seventh-grade, spelling words like "humongous," while Daniel Gershenson won second place and Che' Anderson was named the alternate. Campbell said he's nervous for the regional spelling bee and Russell said he went to the next round before, so he knows what to expect.

"It feels good to win," Russell said. "It feels kind of the same as last year but I'm really nervous for the next one."

The community education spelling bee is governed by the United States Bee Rules and students are given lists of words to study for the competition. Stump words are used to determine a champion.

Carolyn Peterson served as the moderator Tuesday while Mimi Merz and Jane Nordberg served as judges. The event is sponsored by The Daily Mining Gazette.

Fifth-grade spellers included Taylor Harry, Milly Hoskins, Eva Nemiroff, Autumn Sanders and Leo Wheeler, along with Romps, Leukuma and Valencia.

Sixth-grade spellers included Edward Bennett, Shea Donnelly, Jake Putala, Lindsay Sandell and Sal Sharp, along with Sarah Peng, Kyleigh Troxel and Maggie Wang.

Seventh-grade spellers included Delaney Carter, Heather Huffmaster, Cameron Lystila, Nick Oberto and Logan Perrow, along with Phoebe Hu, Ben Russell and Colleen Toorongian.

Eighth-grade spellers included Sophia Avouris, Shannon Bradsberry, Elise Cheney Makens, Spencer Donnelly, Shalina Gupta, Betsy Lyle and Kyra Neufeld, as well as Che' Anderson, Colin Campbell and Daniel Gershenson.

The regional spelling bee will be hosted in Calumet at a date yet to be determined. The U.P. Finals will be held in Ishpeming March 16.



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