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Spellers show more laughter than nerves

Nicole Frey
NWS Spelling Bee2 PU 2-22
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EDWARDS – The Scripps National Spelling Bee spans several nail-biting, gut wrenching days. The spelling bee between Eagle County Charter Academy and Meadow Mountain Elementary School took just half an hour and involved a lot more laughter and a lot less competition.

“I thought it was fantastic,” said Hilary Hughes, a language arts teacher at the charter academy. Whittled down from 16 spellers spanning grades 4 to 8, two students remained in the metal chairs in the auditorium of Berry Creek Middle School. They slouched in their seats, laughing between rounds, jokingly shaking hands and making faces. Round after round Daniel Schramm and Stephanie Woodruff, eighth graders at the charter academy, spelled their words correctly.”P-A-R-A-L-E-G-A-L, paralegal,” spelled Schramm. Woodruff grabbed the microphone and laughed, shuffling her feet, but came back with another successful spelling. But then the inevitable happened. Schramm spelled “salinity” incorrectly. The heat was on, Woodruff had only to spell her word correctly and the win would be hers. “V-E-R-B-A-L-L-Y, verbally,” she rattled off easily. The crowd cheered as the 13-year-old blushed.

“I didn’t really want to win,” said Woodruff after the bee, trying her best to look inconspicuous and avoid well-wishers.But Woodruff’s mother, Kris, said she was thrilled by her daughter’s strong showing, which earned her the chance to compete in a statewide spelling bee in Denver. Mother and daughter debated whether Stephanie would attend.”No, I’m not going to go,” Stephanie said.”Oh, you’ll give it a try,” Kris Woodruff said, but her daughter didn’t look convinced.



The bee was sped along in part because of the age-span of the contestants, and the youngest were the first to fall. Nearly half the spellers left the stage after the first round, heartened by applause from their friends and family. While Woodruff said she didn’t think it was fair for 9-year-olds to compete against teenagers, most said they had a good time and look forward to next year’s bee.”We’re going to make it big next year,” said Jen Gutmann, teacher at Meadow Mountain. Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado


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