by Dennis Dalman
Two words – havoc and outrageous – made a big difference to fifth-grader Ben Brandt, who won the Sartell Middle School Spelling Bee Jan. 26 at the school.
Ben is the son of Kathy and Travis Brandt.
Elaine Lo, a seventh-grader, earned second place; and Nora Steil, a sixth-grader, took third place.
Nora, the daughter of Amanda and Jeff Steil, was sailing along nicely almost right up to the end when suddenly she misspelled the word cinnamon, which gave her the third-place title. Shortly after that stumble, Elaine stepped up to the podium and misspelled the word jocularity. Elaine is the daughter of Tiffany Yeh and Martin Lo.
Those two misses left Ben alone at the podium. First he spelled havoc correctly, and then he was given one more word he had to spell to gain the championship.
Confidently, loud and clear, Ben said the word outrageous, then he spelled it: O-U-T-R-A-G-E-O-U-S. And then he said the word aloud again. One of the judges said “That is correct,” and the room, filled with parents, siblings and relatives, burst into applause.
The winners won gift certificates and an Encyclopedia Brittanica software application for their computers.
Seventh-grader Janagan Ramanathan, fourth place, will be the alternate at the Regional Spelling Bee that will take place Feb. 12 at Resource Training and Solutions in Sartell. Ramanathan was eliminated in Round 7 when he misspelled the word whey.
The winners of the regional contests will compete at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
At the middle-school bee, 22 students grades 5 through 8, including two sixth-graders from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, participated. The three judges were Lindsey Vernier, Sartell Middle School technology specialist; and seventh-grade teachers Kristen Anderson and Jessica Lewis.
The event was coordinated by Lori Dornburg, academic extension coordinator, and awards were presented by Sartell Middle School Principal Julie Tripp.
Some of the scores of words the students had to spell included amulet, knead, surrogate, wraith, veteran, phonics, berserk, skirmish and boomerang.
About 100 people, including the student competitors, attended the bee.
Students who participated were the following:
Grade 5: Anthony Berndt, Mathew Bolton (alternate), Brandt, Lucas Eisennagel, Emily Jelinski and Charlie Magnuson.
Grade 6: Dylan Cummings, Dylan Krenz-Bertrand, Jayke Peters, Steil and Bella Zerafa.
Grade 7: Josh Harrington, Lo, Gretta Mahowald, Ramanathan and Savannah Supan.
Grade 8: Jessica Andrewson, Avery Atkinson, Lauryn Booth, Claire Bruland, Thomas Connolly and Dylan Notsch (alternate).
St. Francis Xavier: Sixth-graders Ethan Gohmann and Faith Van Erp.