Brainerd student wins second trip to national spelling bee

It was a spelldown between Brainerd eighth-grader Ammy Lin and Staples-Motley seventh-grader Rose Han Wednesday in The Lakes Bee, a regional spelling bee held at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

Brainerd eighth-grader Ammy Lin wins The Lakes Bee, a regional spelling bee held at Tornstrom Auditorium Wednesday, for the second year in a row. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)

It was a spelldown between Brainerd eighth-grader Ammy Lin and Staples-Motley seventh-grader Rose Han Wednesday in The Lakes Bee, a regional spelling bee held at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

The two teens went through three spelldown rounds after outlasting 26 other students in seven rounds in the spelling competition. In the end Ammy, a student at Forestview Middle School in Baxter, came out on top, winning a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. This will be Ammy's second time competing in the national competition.

Ammy, the daughter of Yi and Xi Lin of Baxter, was eliminated in the third round at nationals last year and this year she hopes to make semifinals.

"I'm really surprised I made it for a second time to nationals," Ammy said after the competition. "The first trip I was so excited, it was a life-changing trip. People there were so proud and many had goals and chased after their dreams."

Students in grades five through eight competed in The Lakes Bee, sponsored by the National Joint Powers Alliance. The Lakes Bee is a regional bee consisting 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.


Students competing in the regional bee were among the top spellers at their school's spelling bee held earlier this year. In the regional bee, once a student misspelled a word they were eliminated.

Three students were eliminated in Round 1; five students in Round 2; four in Round 3; two in Round 4; six in Round 5; four in Round 6; and two in Round 7. Then it was between Rose and Ammy. In the final spelldown, Rose spelled "purloin" first and misspelled it. This meant Ammy had to spell two words correctly for the win. Her first word was "affix" and her second word was descry." She asked for the origin and the definition of both words before she spelled them correctly.

Ammy said after the competition that she never heard of the work "descry."

"I was pretty nervous," she said. "When I studied, I studied word patterns instead of how to spell a word and that helped me."

Ammy said her easiest word was "bandit," which was her word in Round 1.

"This year's regional bee was a lot harder than last year," Ammy said. "I was pretty nervous the whole time."

Rose, placing second, said she studied a fair amount for the spelling competition. She said she was not nervous.

The pronouncer of The Lakes Bee was Julie Mertens, NJPA education consultant; head judge, Loni Niles, Wadena-Deer Creek Schools; rounds/records judge, Dawn Paurus, Wadena-Deer Creek Schools; dictionary judge, Mary Sperley, Staples Public Library and recorder, Lisa Morgan, NJPA Education program coordinator.


Carol Jackson, NJPA, was The Lakes Bee coordinator.

"This was a great spelling bee," Jackson said. "I was happy to see Ammy and Rose both come back to regionals to compete ... The judges skipped to the more difficult words in the spelldown and they did well.

Other students who competed were:

• Forestivew: Eighth-graders Lily Hurlbert, Teddy Wadsten, Madison Holm and Ammy; seventh-graders Noah Joque and Jay Petrie; and sixth-grader Ben Karlgaard.

• Little Falls Community Schools students: Ashley Hagen, a fifth-grader, Owen Talberg, a sixth-grader and Aidan Hagen, a seventh-grader.

• Staples-Motley School students: Han and William Thew, a sixth-grader,

• Pequot Lakes Schools students: Julia Stahnke, a sixth-grader and Abigail Gross, a seventh-grader;

• Pierz: Kirby Fischer, fifth-grader at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Pierz; Jade Johnson, a sixth-grader and Jaden Lindeman, a seventh-grader at Pierz School District.


• Aitkin Public Schools: Kelsi Pohl, a sixth-grader, and Hannah Paulbeck, an eighth-grader.

• Pine River-Backus Schools fifth-grader Rian Struss.

• Menahga Public Schools sixth-grader Clara Buchner.

• Crosslake Community School seventh-grader Evelyn Watson.

• Northland Community Schools in Remer fifth-grader Miranda Johnson.

• Swanville Public Schools fifth-grader Lauren Miller.

• Sebeka Public School seventh-grader Moriah Frame.

• Upsala Area Schools eighth-grader Isaiah Wardlaw.

• Browerville Public Schools eighth-grader Marissa Lentz.

• Verndale Public School eighth-grader Nick Sharma.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

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