To bee or not to bee: Students compete for chance to spell at county contest
The seventh-grade spelling bee featured a menagerie that included a jaguar, an ibex, a llama and a mackerel. Some of the animals caused participants to stumble, but others clinched a win for the speller.
Students in fifth through eighth grades have been participating in spelling bees in the past two weeks to qualify one student from each grade for the Leavenworth County Spelling Bee, which will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 3 at the American Legion building in downtown Leavenworth.
Lansing students who will compete at the county bee are Jenna Hoyt, fifth grade; Courtney Cochran, sixth grade; Nathan Wessel, seventh grade; and Josh Martin, eighth grade.
In addition, seventh- and eighth-graders were vying for a chance to compete at the Kaw Valley League Spelling Bee on Feb. 15 in Tonganoxie. Nathan and Josh plus six other students earned a spot at the KVL bee: seventh-graders Marita Meyer, Celeste Brinkley and Matthew Bessasparis and eighth-graders Talhah Siraj, Gabi Ballow and Reid Smith.
Alicia Moody, a Lansing Middle School English teacher who facilitated the middle-school bees, said Lansing students traditionally had done well at spelling bees. Last year, Marita placed second in the county and Chelsea Harrington, now a freshman at Lansing High School, placed third.
A few years ago, Moody said, the eight students she brought to the KVL bee took the top eight places.
"I was almost embarrassed," Moody said.
She has high hopes again for this year's bee contestants. Moody said the eighth-graders were "incredible spellers," correctly spelling words she had never given before in her many years as a bee facilitator.
"They were some of the hardest words I've ever seen," she said.
Both the seventh- and eighth-graders put on a good showing; the eighth-grade bee on Jan. 17 lasted two hours, Moody said. The seventh-grade bee on Monday lasted an hour and a half, prompting Moody to joke, "We're gonna be here all night!"