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Burrell’s “Stellar Spellers”

District Spelling Bee Crowns Champion

Seven weeks of studying and practicing paid off for three elementary students when they were named Burrell’s top spellers on May 31. Thirty students participated in the second-annual Elementary School District Champion Spelling Bee at the Stewart School auditorium before an audience of family, friends, and faculty. After nearly four grueling hours of spelling, second grade student Georgia Brothers took top honors, with third-grader Carson Ley and fifth-grader Lucas Ciesielski placing second and third, respectively.

Each of the top three spellers received a certificate and trophy, along with gift certificates valued between $60 and $100. But these students gained much more than tangible prizes, according to event coordinator Genia Koziarski. The spelling bee allowed students to expand their vocabulary and encouraged accurate word usage and pronunciation. It also helped them develop poise and learn to communicate under pressure.

As a member of the PTA for the past 3 years, Mrs. Koziarski wanted to come up with an event that was not only fun and exciting for the kids, but also educational. “As a kid with dyslexia, I was frustrated by spelling,” says Mrs. Koziarski. “My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, made it fun and rewarding by playing games with my class. It made a big difference and has helped me tremendously with my spelling. I wanted to make a difference for the kids just like Mrs. Cook did for me.”

Students in grades 1-5 were invited to take part in the three-round Spelling Bee. The first phase took place the last week of April, with students competing within their homerooms. The top three spellers from each homeroom moved on to the second phase on May 11, where they competed against the other homeroom winners in their grade. The top six spellers in each grade then competed at the Champion Bee.

The word list was compiled from the spelling and vocabulary words used throughout the school year. Each child was asked to spell words from their own grade level lists. However, no words were repeated during any of the bee phases, so students also had to study the word lists for the next grade level. The competition was so stiff that as the Champion Bee passed the two-and-a-half hour mark, officials decided to jump ahead five pages at a time in the lists to get to more difficult words!

In addition to the top three spellers, students who competed in the Championship Bee are: First grade: Riley Sterlitz, Ben Szish, Shane Napier, Matthew Crane, Peyton Swan and Morgan Fenoglietto; Second grade: Caroline Dynka, Payton Beattie, Kate Leiner, Jessica Kowalkowski and Brandon Coury; Third grade: Abigail Kelley, Mollie Cochran, Chelsea Kristof, Jordyn Kowalkowski and Caitlin Hopkins; Fourth grade: Mollie Farneth, Devon Field, Matthew Venglik, Saydi Remaley, DJ Smalling and Ashley Smith; and Fifth grade: Ashley Sovitski, Aria Maddren, Abbey Young, Drew Burkett and Zach Hrabczuk. Each of these students received a medal and certificate.

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