-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools
Joel Jiljo Jose, a third grader from C. G. Credle Elementary, won the Second Annual District Spelling Bee sponsored by Granville County Schools on March 14, 2019.
Over 100 supporters crowded the multipurpose hall at Tar River Elementary School for the Bee. When the curtain opened at 6:30 p.m., nine School Spelling Bee winners were seated on stage ready to compete for the District Championship and a chance to attend the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.
GCS Superintendent Dr. Alisa McLean warmly welcomed everyone, and Dr. Tonya Thomas, Director of Student Services for GCS, introduced the officials and the contestants. Dr. Michael Myrick, also from GCS, Diane Garrison, retired principal, and Cathy Frizzle, community volunteer, served as judges. Amy Lue, Student Data Manager, was the Moderator; and retired educator, Dana King, served as Word Master.
One contestant, Cayden Middleton, was unable to be there to represent Butner-Stem. The other nine students stood while being introduced: Joel Jose, C. G. Credle; Lillyanne Johnson, Creedmoor; Alissa Kurtzke, Falls Lake Academy; Natalie Ollila, Granville Academy; Ethan Fleming Winfield, Mt. Energy; Maria Rigsbee, Stovall-Shaw; Addison Preddy, Tar River; Dacari Burrell, West Oxford; and Finn Jones, Wilton.
Mrs. Lue then reviewed the rules. Each round of the Bee consisted of students having a turn to spell different words. The Bee began with a practice round, in which an incorrect word was not counted. The official Bee started next with Round One. If a child missed a word he/she would leave the stage at the end of the round to sit in a designated section of the audience until it was time to return to the stage for the award ceremony.
Students in grades 3, 4, and 5, from public schools, charter schools, or home schools were eligible to compete this year if they or their school enrolled with the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competitors had already won a spelling bee to qualify for this District Bee. They had six weeks to prepare for it by studying a list of 1,150 words from the Scripps guide called, “Spell It!” It was evident they had engaged in serious studying because everyone was still on stage at the end of Round One!
The randomly selected words increased in difficulty as the Bee progressed. Competitors missed such words as “crimson,” “electoral,” and “zenith.” By the time a stretch break was called at the end of Round Four, there were four students remaining. The audience was practically holding their breaths so as not to distract the concentration of the great minds on stage!
The winner of the Bee had to spell two words correctly in two consecutive rounds. Four students were still in the Bee in Round Six. Two missed the words, “grabble,” and “bambino.” Now the contest was between Credle’s Joel and Wilton’s Finn. They went back and forth for several more rounds.
Joel’s winning words were “cummerbund,” and “sumo.” He beamed in excitement as the audience broke into applause, and he was declared the District Bee Winner! In addition to the trophy, he received prizes from Merriam Webster, Encyclopedia Britannica, and a 2019 United States Mint Proof Set. Joel hopes to attend a state university and possibly become an engineer or a pharmacist in the future.
All the contestants returned to their stage seats, and their families had a chance to take pictures of them receiving a medal from Dr. McLean and Dr. Thomas. The group posed with their awards on the steps of the stage with the officials standing behind them and Joel in front holding the big trophy.
The students and their families enjoyed the chance to meet and greet their supporters at a formal reception afterward. The Beta Pi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, International, donated and served cake, punch, fruit, and cheese. The cake was decorated with alphabet letters written in icing, and goodie bags for the contestants contained alphabet-shaped cookies.
As the evening drew to a close, many comments were heard from both children and parents about how much they enjoyed the competition and hope to compete again next year – and that’s perhaps the best way to spell success for this annual event!