Triskaidekaphobia? Not at Roxboro's spelling bee

The top three spellers are (left to right): Gloria Chasney, Brie Bourbeau, and Marcus Shabalala.

Back in-person, after nearly three years of online spelling, the 13th Annual Roxboro Middle School Spelling Bee was held in the school's auditorium on Dec. 6. Eight spellers, all sixth- and seventh-graders, competed for prizes and their name on the bee trophy. 

Brie Bourbeau, champion and seventh-grader, will represent Roxboro at the regional bee, which will be online. Spellers from Ohio and Michigan will compete in the event. Sixth-grader Marcus Shabalala was Roxboro’s second-place winner. He will be the alternate for the regional event. Congratulations also went to sixth-grader Gloria Chasney, who earned third place.

In addition to the three winners, Eliana Kennedy, Mila Seitz, Jachin Anderson, Jadien Richards, and Addie Craft competed. Participants were required to spell some difficult words, including bruise, traditional, donkeys, squinched, wrestle, unacknowledged, defunct, retribution, reenactment, configuration, intubated, counterfeit, and Brie’s winning word—fumatorium.

The bee consisted of multiple rounds—mostly spelling words. The fifth and thirteenth rounds, however, were all about word meanings. Spellers had to answer multiple choice questions about words and their definitions.

Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights, pronounced the words for the competitors. Patricia Gray, Simona Mkrtschjan, and Steve Walker served as judges.

The Cleveland Orchestra, Mac’s Backs - Books on Coventry, and Tommy’s donated prizes for the winners. In addition, Tommy Fello, owner of Tommy’s, provided Golden Tickets (good for one of the world’s best milkshakes) for all of  the spelling bee participants. 

Beth Woodside

Beth Woodside is a violinist with The Cleveland Orchestra, member of the Music Settlement violin faculty, former board member of Reaching Heights, and coordinator of the Roxboro Middle School spelling bee.

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:15 AM, 12.29.2022