Students spell their way to victory

ELKINS?- Audience members seemed spellbound as they held their breath and nodded their heads with each letter the students pronounced, as nearly 30 Randolph County school students vied to spell their way to first place this week at the Randolph County Schools’ Spelling Bee.

Five students, each first in their grade level, will advance to the regional spelling bee, slated for March 19 in Clarksburg. First place winners included Tyler Ray, fourth grade, Harman School; Evelyn Bennett, fifth grade, Third Ward Elementary School; Lane Cutright, sixth grade, Tygart Valley Middle School; Davis Miller, seventh grade, Elkins Middle School; and George Triplett, eighth grade, Elkins Middle School.

Triplett, who won by spelling the word “chinchilla” at Thursday evening’s event, said he has won the local spelling bee since he was in fourth grade.

“I have participated in the regional spelling bee every year, too,” Triplett said. “At the regional spelling bee, I placed third one year and fourth the next.”

Title 1 Reading Professional Development Coordinator Debbie Fincham, a judge for the evening, said the participants did a great job.

“You could tell the students studied hard and completed lots of preparation for the event,” Fincham said. “The students received a practice list for their grade level to study before the competition.”

Bennett said this was her first time in the spelling bee.

“I am excited to go to the regional tournament,” Bennett said. “I was relieved that I won.”

Cutright said he had fun competing in the tournament. He correctly spelled “hazard” to win his grade level.

“I did not think I would be the winner, but I won,” Cutright said. “To prepare for the regionals, I will study hard and work to get my nerve up.”

Cutright said when he studies, his parents say the word and he spells it.

“If I misspell a word, they mark it and we go back over them for more practice.”

Miller spelled “fiery” to earn his first-place spot.

Woodmen of the World Lodge 6065 provided each first place winner in the Randolph County Schools’ Spelling Bee with a $25 Amazon gift card.

The event was coordinated by Becky Whiteman, principal of Jennings Randolph Elementary School, and Paul Zickefoose, principal of Beverly Elementary School. Lydia Jones, of Elkins, served as the pronouncer and judges included Susan Evick, Fincham and Stephanie Zickefoose. Other volunteers for the event included Sharon Moss and Linda Zickefoose.