Bethel word game a winner

Published Jan 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm (Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 9:08 am)

By Lorraine Gregus

Info Box: Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is held each year in the U.S. after spellers first vie for state and regional titles. Regional winners may then enter the national competition. Any boy or girl under 16 years of age and in eighth grade or below is eligible to participate. Previous winners of National Spelling Bees are no longer eligible. Early rounds are televised during the day and championship finals are aired evenings, both on ESPN.

The National Spelling Bee was formed in 1925 to encourage children to perfect the art of spelling, help enlarge their vocabularies and widen their knowledge of the English language. The bee is held annually in late May or early June. This year the bee will be held May 26-June 1 near Washington, D.C.


Although spelling words correctly is necessary to good report cards, spelling can also be fun and an exciting challenge. With so many changes in our schools’ curriculum today, it’s encouraging to see that correct spelling is still considered important.

Spelling bees have always drawn my interest. I’m in awe of the young participants and their knowledge of words and their meanings. I’ve been known to sleep through a Steelers game, a snow storm weather alert and, I’m sad to say, a presidential speech, but my eyes remain open wide during a spelling bee.

Last fall, the Lunchtime Rotary Club of Bethel Park proposed a spelling bee to include all the Bethel Park School District’s third-grade students. For the past five years, this local Rotary has presented every third grade student in the district a copy of Webster’s Dictionary. This year, they also provided an opportunity to use this great reference guide.

Third graders from Bethel Park’s George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Memorial and William Penn elementary schools were given the opportunity to enter a spelling bee held in the auditorium of Independence Middle School. Dr. Dorothy Stark, director of elementary education and principal at Lincoln, put together grade-appropriate lists of words and posted them ahead of time on the district’s website.

Interested students were then made aware of possible words used during the bee and its rules. Each word could be used in a sentence offered by the judge, only if requested by the student. Apostrophes and capitals were essential in spelling. Also, students were given but one try to spell each word given to them.

Confidence prevailed among the 66 young boys and girls who were eager to begin the bee. And they were amazing! Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends were on hand to support their efforts.

“The spelling bee was wonderful,” said Bonnie Pierce, secretary of the lunchtime Rotary group. “I’m still impressed with the enthusiasm the students showed and their commitment to learning words. Planning for next year’s bee is already in the works.”

February and coincidence were troublesome words, but “coyote” was both the losing and the winning word, spelled correctly by Danielle Reiland from Lincoln Elementary. Also, with plenty of confidence and clarity, Zachary Simmons placed second and David Jakel took the third spot, both from Franklin. Winners took home gift certificates from Toys R Us: First place-$150; Second place-$100; and Third place-$50.

EEN: The Lunchtime Rotary of Bethel Park also presents two graduating seniors with scholarships each year.

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