Spelling bee won on ‘clearance’
The winner of the Harrison County Spelling Bee may have misspelled bilingual, but Emma Shaffer, who was in the No. 2 of 11 chairs, caught a break last Wednesday evening at Morgan Elementary School when the three other remaining contestants in round 4 also missed their words: enthusiasm, romanticize and vendetta.
Emma, a fifth grader at Lanesville Elementary School, recovered and correctly spelled clearance in the next round to claim the trophy and advance to the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee set for Saturday, March 5, in Louisville.
The three other remaining contestants, all fifth-grade students ‘ Aiden Crone from New Middletown Elementary, Kaleb Kellems from North Harrison Elementary and Millie Spencer from South Central Elementary ‘ each missed their round 5 word but had to go an extra round to determine a runner-up.
Aiden missed underprivileged, and Kaleb misspelled immune. Millie, who was placed in the last of the 11 seats, correctly spelled corresponded. If for some reason Emma is unable to participate at the next level, Millie will represent Harrison County.
Lark Mull, who organizes the county spelling bee and serves as the pronouncer, said she had not had to change the date of the local contest in the past five years. However, this year she rescheduled the bee twice because of the forecast of inclement weather.
Mull told the students prior to the competition that lasted just under 45 minutes they all were already winners as they had won they respective school bees.
Three competitors went out during round 1 to nestle, jerkily and warrant. Three more misspelled bureau, embarrass and recommend in round 2.
There was a brief pause before round 3 while a freezer in the cafeteria was unplugged.
Jacob Eve, an eighth-grade student at Corydon Central Junior High, tripped on the word sleight, instead spelling slight.
Mull had encouraged the students prior to the contest to request their word be used in a sentence or to ask for the definition. She reminded them again at the end of the practice round when Millie missed her word; it was pointed out reign, rein and rain are homonyms.
‘I know it’s a nerve-racking experience to be up here,’ Mull had told the students. ‘Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw’ on getting a more difficult word in a round than other contestants.
After the competition, among those congratulating Emma was her mom, Tonya Shaffer, and sister, sixth-grader Caitlin Shaffer. Her father, Jeremy Shaffer, was unable to attend.
Emma said she studied by using the booklet provided for the competition and going over the words with her mother.
Her mother said both daughters are good readers, sometimes reading when they are to be doing other things, such as chores.
Emma said bilingual was her toughest word of the night although she misspelled awful in the practice round. (Four other contestants missed their practice-round words.)
Other contestants were Eliza Lockhart, a fifth-grade student at Morgan Elementary; Ellie Cassidy, an eighth grader at North Harrison Middle School; Gavin Blank, a seventh-grade student at St. John’s Lutheran; Joan Ross, a sixth-grade student at Heth-Washington Elementary; Mackie Bynum, a fourth grader at St. Joseph Catholic School; and Rheahnna Allen, a sixth-grade student at Corydon Intermediate.