Brainerd eighth-grader is C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N; Meryl Tigenoah wins district bee
BAXTER--"Gesticulations," "silhouetted" and "inconceivable" were the final three words Brainerd eighth-grader Meryl Tigenoah spelled correctly for the win in the Brainerd Public Schools sixth through eighth grade oral spelling bee Wednesday at Fo...
BAXTER-"Gesticulations," "silhouetted" and "inconceivable" were the final three words Brainerd eighth-grader Meryl Tigenoah spelled correctly for the win in the Brainerd Public Schools sixth through eighth grade oral spelling bee Wednesday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.
Thirteen-year-old Meryl outlasted 13 students for the championship in a 20-round spelling bee and will move on to the regional spelling bee called The Lakes Bee in March.
Eight eighth-graders, four seventh-graders and two sixth-graders competed in the district bee. The students sat in two rows on the stage at the middle school in front of the pronouncer, the judges and an audience of mostly their parents and families. They sat quietly waiting for their turns, some appearing nervous, others excited.
Brainerd students in grades sixth through eighth are the only ones who can compete in the Brainerd Public Schools bee. Written tests are given to all students in sixth through eighth grade-around 1,500 students. Then the top 15 students with the highest score qualify for the oral district bee.
The top seven from the district bee advance to the regional spelling bee, where only one student will advance to nationals. The top seven Brainerd students who qualified to advance to the regional bee along with Meryl are eighth-graders Ethan Hubert, Jay Petrie and Autumn Paulus; seventh-graders Michael Kuehn and Nicholas Backstrom; and sixth-grader Max Holmstrom.
The Lakes Bee, sponsored by the National Joint Powers Alliance, is scheduled March 2 and will be held for the first time at the National Joint Powers Alliance building in Staples. The regional bee will consist of students in grades fourth through eighth in Crow Wing, Morrison, Wadena, Todd and Cass counties who will compete for a chance to advance to the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.
Jennifer Rushin, Forestview spelling bee coordinator, said there were a lot of repeat students competing in the district bee Wednesday. Fifteen students were to compete, but a seventh grade student dropped out.
"All the students are so smart," Rushin said of the top 15 student spellers in the district. "It's fun to watch them all and it was nice to see Meryl come out on top as she has worked so hard for this and has been a tough competitor."
Meryl, the daughter of Linda and Roland Tigenoah of Baxter, was nervous when the spelling bee started but said she wasn't going to let that get in her way as it would affect her performance.
"I knew I needed to focus on the words," said Meryl, who also qualified for the district bee last year as a seventh-grader. "I'm much more reassured on what's going on (with the spelling bee) and how things worked. I did a lot of studying and went over my dictionary sometimes and reviewed a lot of word lists. A lot of the words popped up on the bee that I knew, and I was glad about that. ... I didn't know all the words so I guessed on a few."
Meryl said her toughest word was "silhouetted" in the championship spelldown. She said she knew how to spell the beginning of the word, but wasn't totally sure on the end portion of the word. She said her easiest word was "benzene," which she spelled in the first tiebreaker spelldown round.
"I just read that word on a box this morning," she said.
Meryl said language arts is her strongest subject in school. She loves to read and said all the books she has read has helped her expand her vocabulary.
The spelling bee started with the 14 students competing in eight rounds with a goal to name one champion and six others who would advance to regionals.
The master of ceremonies of the spelling bee was Forestview Principal Jonathan Anderson; the pronouncer was Kathy Tusa; and judges were Brenda Johnson, Paula Mangan and Karen Ogdahl.
After Round 8, six students-Meryl, Ethan, Jay, Autumn, Michael, Nicholas-all qualified for regionals, but had to battle it out for the championship title. The six students competed in a tie-breaker and after the first three rounds, Ethan, Michael and Nicholas each spelled a word incorrectly and were eliminated. The three remaining-Meryl, Autumn and Jay-went through another three rounds and Meryl spelled all three correct for the win. Jay misspelled "semaphore" and "recusant" and Autumn misspelled "overweening," "enervating" and "potentialities" and were both eliminated.
Brainerd now had a champion and six students to advance, but needed one more student, who would advance to regionals.
Five students-Max Holmstrom and Edith Chamberlain, both sixth-graders; Macy Speer, a seventh-grader; and Noah Joque and Jackson Dwyer, both eighth-graders-all misspelled one word in the first eight rounds in the bee and had to battle it out for the seventh spot for regionals.
In the first tie-breaker round, Max and Noah spelled all three words perfectly and the others were eliminated. In another tiebreaker of three rounds, Max came out on top and won the ticket to advance to regionals. He correctly spelled "component" and "poutine" and misspelled "maudlin." Noah spelled "aplomb" correctly, but misspelled "reminisce" and "intestate," and was eliminated.
Seventh-graders Ben Karlgaard, Abby Pratt and Mitch Neumann also competed in the spelling bee, but were eliminated in the first eight rounds. Seventh-grader Jayla Grove also qualified for the bee, but did not compete.