Seventh grader wins spelling bee with p-e-r-i-s-c-o-p-e

Published 6:55 am Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quick — somebody get seventh-grader Bethany Rowbal a periscope.

She would find it to be quite the keepsake, after winning a district-wide spelling bee yesterday, proclaiming her final word, “p-e-r-i-s-c-o-p-e.”

Rowbal and two other students from Ellis Middle School will head to a regional spelling bee later this winter after placing in the top three in the district competition.

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Eighth-grade student Autumn Laury claimed second place and eighth grade student Julie Arkells took third.

The bee lasted five rounds in the Ellis Middle School auditorium Wednesday afternoon, with dozens of parents gleaming in the audience.

“I think the kids did great,” said Amanda Bremner, gifted and talented teacher and spelling bee judge. “I thought those words got really tough, really fast.”

Overall, 23 students from Austin elementaries and Ellis Middle School competed in the bee with Carla Conradt, Austin High School success coach, formerly of KAAL, as emcee. The competitors had placed in their school bees earlier this month to qualify for the all-district challenge.

Six students went out in round one Wednesday, tripping over words like subterranean, quarantine, oblige and pigeon. Round two claimed 12 spellers with words including, rutabaga, anticoagulant, circuitous and latitudinarian.

The three girls who will advance, along with seventh grade student Dana Lawson, made it through to round three. After Lawson and Arkells misspelled their words they competed in a written spelling test to claim third and fourth place.

Bremner said students do receive a spelling study guide called “Spell It” when they qualify for their school bees. The book is composed of words that will and will not be asked in bees.

The district spelling bee is a part of the National Spelling Bee, the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion. The national bee is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the E.W. Scripps Company and more than 280 sponsoring newspapers or organizations from around the world.

Rowbal, Laury and Arkells will compete in the regional bee in Rochester on Feb. 16. The top six spellers of that bee will go onto the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee in March. The state bee and a national bee in Washington, D.C. follow.