SHERIDAN — Worrisome, igneous, ambiguity, syntax and vulcanize are just a few of the words that area fifth- through eighth-graders had to spell at yesterday’s county spelling bee.
Students from Sheridan Junior High School, Tongue River Middle School and Big Horn Middle School converged at Sheridan College yesterday to compete in the annual spelling bee.
After completing a 50-word writing test, the top 11 spellers were invited to the stage in the college’s auditorium to compete in the oral test. Four spellers went out in the first round, two in the second round and two in the third round. When the competitors got down to three, pronouncer Nancy Elliott announced that they would be going to the state competition.
Caroline Heile, an eighth-grader at Big Horn Middle School was the first of the three to misspell her word. Emmalee Hoopes and Trinity Preston, both eighth-graders at Sheridan Junior High then competed for several more rounds. Elliott said in her ten years of pronouncing at the bee, it was the longest set of rounds she had seen.
In the end, Hoopes prevailed. This will be her second time attending the state championship.
“This was really a shock,” said Preston, who took second place and will also attend the state championship. “I am not that good of a speller. I was expecting Emmalee and Taylor to make it up there again.”
Hoopes said she is an avid reader and also practices for the bee regularly with her coach Mrs. Weitz.
“Sometimes I write out the words and sometimes I just do oral practices with someone else,” she said. “My practice varies a lot. The hardest part is just knowing all of the words because some of them, they are just so weird and you can’t even imagine how they are spelled. From the moment you step on the stage you are nervous in my opinion.”
The state championship will be held this year in Rock Springs on March 8. This is the last year that Nancy Elliott will serve as pronouncer.
She has assisted with the bee as a pronouncer, teacher or coach for close to 30 years.