INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The best spellers from 13 elementary schools squared off Thursday for the chance to go toe-to-toe with middle and high school spellers this February.
“You guys can do it,” said Jody Bennett, addressing the six finalists who will compete next year. “You were very confident. We are proud of you.” Dylan Hassan, of Osceola Magnet, is one of the six strong spellers to represent the elementary schools in the district-wide bee.
“I studied a lot,” Hassan said, adding that “wealthy” was one word he was concerned with.
“We’re very excited,” Hassan’s mom, Angie, said.
They were going to call his dad, who is in the US Air Force stationed in Homestead, Fla., to tell him the news.
Hassan joins Vincent Perez, of Beachland; Jillian Barley, of Rosewood Magnet; Abigail Douglas, of Treasure Coast; Brian Allen, of Liberty Magnet; and Ruth Philippe, of Pelican Island.
Philippe was the last to be added to the Top 6, having beat out three others in a two-part run-off.
Her winning word was “clavicle” – collarbone.
Bennett explained that the School District decided on six elementary students to move on to the next level of competition because those six represent 25 percent of the elementary school competitors.
The district’s 13 elementary schools held individual spelling bees over the last couple weeks, according to Bennett.
The middle and high schools will hold their own spelling bees over the next couple months in preparation for the Feb. 22 district spelling bee, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Vero Beach Performing Arts Center.
All competitors will be given the same list of words to study – though the elementary students will get a head start on that studying.
The Treasure Coast Regional Spelling Bee will follow on March 19.
Bennett said that spelling bees are important for students because oftentimes there is too much focus on athletics – and not all students excel at sports.
“We definitely want to give opportunities” for students to perform, she said.
Warriors of Words