Spelling it out at Heritage

“Livelihood” and “pristine” are words that Alonna Pendergrass will likely not forget.

With those words, Pendergrass won the annual spelling bee at Heritage Elementary School.

To qualify for the school bee, a student first had to win the bee in his or her class. “From there, their name was entered into the school bee,” second-grade teacher Adrian Wells said.

Students did their homework with the official study guide at myspellit.com. “The study guides accounted for half of the words called,” Wells said. “Students were told to explore the dictionary or other resources for the other half of the words not listed in the study guide.”

Heritage fourth-graders who entered the bee were Battle Clayton, Cody Garrett, Sarah Han, Mason Laney and Avril Powell.

Fifth-graders in the spelling bee were Pendergrass, Cameron Leathers, Isabela Opiniano, Kate Rinne and Matthew Schikner. From sixth-grade, the top spellers were Souren Atluri, Hannah Bye, Diana Draper, Emma Gould, Landon Miles and Elizabeth Miller.

“The students did a great job spelling the words,” Wells said. “We didn’t find a set pattern among the words missed.”

Along with Wells, first-grade teacher Jeaneen Foote and fourth-grade teacher Lakesha Doughty coordinated the contest. Judges for the bee were Wells, counselor Kellen Conoway, Dr. Clara Toney and retired teacher Phyllis Sims. Enrichment specialist Laura Minor called the words for the bee.

“The spelling bee promoted a level of enthusiasm among the students. It allowed them to improve their spelling, vocabulary, English usage of words and word concepts while competing among their peers,” Wells said.

The bee included words that people commonly confuse, like advice and advise; affect and effect; and desert and dessert. The students had to master homonyms that are often misused like principal and principle. Many words often are misspelled, like separate, sheriff and vacuum.

“The spelling bee was a huge success,” Wells said. “We enjoyed planning it and the students enjoyed participating. We are looking forward to another successful event next year.”

The E.W. Scripps Company coordinates the national bee in cooperation with Merriam-Webster.

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