Five students from Delaware City Schools will be heading to the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee next month.
In order to qualify for the March 23 competition at Ohio University, students needed to win their school spelling bee and score well on a computer challenge that tested spelling knowledge as well as definitions.
Conger Elementary School fourth-grader Stephanie Hinton said last week that she’s looking forward to the competition.
“I feel pretty excited,” she said.
Hinton added she won the Conger spelling bee last year, but she didn’t score high enough on the computer test to make it to regionals. She said more studying was the key to success this year.
“I was nervous, but I felt better about it because I had studied more,” Hinton said.” I like to write down the words so that they are in my head, and I like to write down the definitions. After that, I like to have my parents quiz me. When I study, it takes the nervousness away because I feel like I have more of a chance.”
Conversley, Shivani Tennety, a fifth-grader at Woodward, said she didn’t actually practice that much this year, but she succeeded by remembering many of the words from last year.
“(When I won the school spelling bee) I was kind of elated,” Tennety said. “I felt good about winning it, I have to admit.”
Tennety said she felt confident going into the computer test and admitted that it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as she thought it would be.
“I’m excited. I’m really excited, but I’m also really nervous,” Tennety said. “I know that it’s really cool that I’ve made it this far. If I can make it even farther, that would be really cool. I feel like I’m looking forward to having something that’s mine. Being really, really excellent at something. I like having people notice my talent.”
Tennety said last week that she’s planning on practicing “a lot” at the beginning of March even if she hasn’t started practicing yet.
“I’m really grateful for all the people who helped me get this far,” Tennety said. “My parents, grandparents, and friends who encouraged me.”
At Carlisle Elementary, fifth-grader Isaac Isenbarger said he’s been practicing 40 minutes each night with word club lists, and he admitted that he was “shocked” when he found out he was going to regionals.
“I’m pretty nervous,” Isenbarger said last week.
Smith Elementary fourth-grader Natalia “Leila” Skosples said she was “really happy” to make it to the regional spelling bee.
Skosples said she has been practicing with her mom every day and even practiced spelling on a family trip to Sweden over winter break. She said she won the school spelling bee last year, but she didn’t make it to regionals because of the computer test.
Skosples was “relieved” when she made it this year, and she joked that she’s only afraid of the Greek words at the spelling bee.
Eric Gitson, a seventh-grader at Dempsey Middle School, said this will be his fourth trip to the regional spelling bee, including a trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. two years ago. Gitson added he couldn’t really think of a better way to spend his spring break.
“I’m really both excited and nervous,” he said. “I’ve only been (to the national spelling bee) once, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Gitson said he practices for hours every day, and he has his eye on the prize.
“When I was first there, I was one of the youngest. Now, I’m one of the oldest so now it’s different,” Gitson said. “I have the experience. I’ve been three times before and won once, so I guess that’s probably an advantage. I’m hoping to win the national one this year.”
Gitson said he was the only Delaware City Schools student on his previous trips to the regional spelling bee, and he’s glad to see four more students from Delaware joining him this year.
“It’s really nice this year that there are five school champions going this year,” Gitson said. “There’s never been that many. It’s great. It’s nice that Delaware is really well represented.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.