Wrage, Howe advance to State Spelling Bee

by marlys good

”Velociraptor: any of a genus of Theropod dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous having a long head, flat snout and large sickle-shaped claws on second toe of each foot.”

With the correct spelling of that word, Yulisa Mendez, a Burlington Elementary School seventh grader, won the Big Horn County Spelling Bee and earned a trip to the State Spelling Bee in Casper in March.

Going word-for-word almost to the end were Skyler Wrage and Avery Howe, GMS eighth and seventh graders, respectively, who finished in second and third places to earn slots in the State Spelling Bee along with Mendez.

GMS educators Carol Kestner and Michelle Stebner asked their GMS sixth, seventh and eighth graders if they would like to take a spell-off to qualify for the county bee, and “more than half of them wanted to try for it.”

Kestner and Stebner chose 25 “hard words” for the test. Explained Kestner, “This is realistically how the Spelling Bee is run. They know there are some words that the students will know and get right, and others they have not heard of. A well-rounded speller will do very well.”

The top three spellers from each grade, which included Wrage and Howe, advanced to the contest held in Burlington Jan. 8.

At Burlington all of the students were given the same 50-word test. After that list had been corrected, they were given another 50-word test and the top 20 spellers advanced to the oral round.

Of the nine GMS students competing, six of them, Howe, Wrage, Jeremy LaFollette, Kadyn Michaud, Jayden Stebreitz and Jordan Nelson made it into the oral portion of the contest.

Kestner and Stebner accompanied the spellers to Burlington where students from Lovell, Greybull, Burlington and Cloud Peak competed. The only Big Horn County school not represented was Rocky Mountain.