Area students studying up for regional spelling bee

Published 1:38 pm Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ted King and John Ferris have a bit of studying to do.

The eighth-grader from Lyle and the seventh-grader from Pacelli, respectively, head to The Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee in Rochester next month.

After winning their school-wide bees earlier this year, on Tuesday King and Ferris competed and placed in the top 12 of 64 students in a regional spelling bee, qualifying for the upcoming Southeast Minnesota bee.

“P-o-l-t-e-r-g-e-i-s-t,” King said, spelling the word he used to capture first place Tuesday.

“I knew it because I had studied the German words extra hard, after getting out on a German word last year.”

King went to regionals after winning Lyle’s bee last year as well, but this was his first time placing and thus advancing to the finals.

To prepare for the regionals, King studied from a booklet for 20 to 30 minutes a day, and he plans to put in even more time before the final bee.

The extra practice, King hopes, will prepare him as well as keep him relaxed on stage.

Though his grandparents told him that he did a great job of looking calm and collected on stage, King said he could feel his knees shake when he’d sit down after spelling a word.

Ferris said competing with kids from 39 schools was a nerve-wracking and fun experience for him as well.

But, he also kept his cool and won fourth place, after winning the Pacelli bee for the first time this year.

“I just read from the dictionary, and studied from a guide that my teacher put together,” Ferris said. “I did that about three times a day to practice [for regionals].”

Ferris, like King, plans to boost his study time in hopes of winning the final bee and heading to the national competition in June.

Only the first place winner of The Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee will advance to the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Ferris, whose favorite subject is actually math, is also currently awaiting results of a National Geographic test he took to qualify for the state level geography bee, after winning a school-wide bee this year.

“I’ll just wait and see for the geography [bee] now,” Ferris said. “But, for spelling, I’m going to work really hard and just do my best.”

King, an avid reader, is going to continue spending ample time practicing German and Dutch words.

“The Dutch rules are hard,” he said, even though people have always told him he has a knack for spelling.

“In kindergarten, people thought it was neat that I could spell the names of dinosaurs. I just thought it was fun,” King said. “Ever since, I’ve just enjoyed spelling.”

The Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee is March 2 at 9 a.m. at the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester.