Busy bees: Top spellers prepare for competition

They study at school after completing class work and during recess.

Students competing in the 2018 Johnson County Spelling Bee go over words between dance practices and homework. They give up free time to make sure they can master the words.

They all are hoping to be named champions Tuesday at they compete in the 2018 Johnson County Spelling Bee.

The annual event is sponsored by the Daily Journal and the Franklin Community Teachers Association.

Nineteen of the county’s top spellers in grades 3 to 5 are preparing to spell words such as “valorous” and “accreditation” at Needham Elementary School.

Each student had to win his or her school spelling bee to make it to the county spelling bee.

A trophy and the chance to compete at the next level are at stake.

Spell check and auto correct won’t save them if they don’t know how to spell a word. They will have only their memory and listening skills to help propel them through the competition.

Their solution has been to study, study and study some more to see if they can get the coveted trophy and championship win.

Jacey Walker, a fourth-grade student at Break-O-Day Elementary School, has been jotting down the words in different ways whenever she has free time.

And Jackson Cook, a fifth-grader at Pleasant Crossing Elementary School, gets quizzed on spelling words every night to prepare for the spelling bee.

He was the runner-up in his school’s spelling bee last year. Studying was the way to make sure he won his school’s spelling bee and the best way to advance in the county spelling bee this year, he said.

“I wanted to win this year, so I studied really hard,” Cook said. “I am pretty sure that I am going to win.”

Sarah Malanoski, a fifth-grader at Grassy Creek Elementary School, breezed through her school spelling bee to be named the champion. She knows doing well in the county bee will take more work, she said.

She reads the words and practices them every day. Preparing for the words relaxes her, Malanoski said.

“It gives me something to focus on and challenges me sometimes,” she said.

The spellers competing at Needham on Tuesday will have to spell the words in front of an audience of hundreds, including judges whose job is to catch them in a mistake.

Isabelle Fletcher, a fifth-grader at St. Rose of Lima School in Franklin, plans on saying the word she is given, spelling it in her head and then spelling it to the judges.

Becoming a strong speller will prepare her for the future.

“One day I might have to spell something if I go to college,” she said.

If you go

What: 2018 Johnson County Spelling Bee

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Needham Elementary School, 1399 Upper Shelbyville Road, Franklin

Sponsored by: The Daily Journal and the Franklin Community Teachers Association.

Author photo
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.