A spelling bee, once a touchstone of core American educational values, is alive and well in Sheridan County, thanks to Century 21 BHJ Realty and Rosemary Larkin. Three years ago, interest was diminishing and the event was about to go kaput. (Ka-put: broken and useless; no longer working or effective, so say the dictionary folk.)
In stepped Larkin and Century 21, and the event has taken on new life. There were 40 participants at a local school in 2015 with Wes Beadle winning the top prize. Last year, there were 76 students at Sheridan College competing, with Jesse Rodriquez winning; Reese Hendrickson and Beadle finished 2-3.
This year, the event, which will include fifth graders for the first time, will attract more than 100 spellers to the WYO Theater on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The spelling bee is connected to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The top three winners will advance to the state bee in March, which will be held in Rock Springs. Winners there will go onto the national event in National Harbor, Maryland, in May. Nine Scripps-Howard newspapers in 1925 hosted the first national spelling bee. Today, some 11 million students are involved in this literacy effort.
Larkin says this year’s bee will include music and some theater to enliven the event. Parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters will likely attend, yet the public is welcomed and encouraged.
There’s a sense, too, that the local spelling bee is in good hands with Larkin at the tiller. She’s the Century 21/BHJ Realty financial manager. The obvious question, of course: Are you a good speller?
Affirmative, came the reply.
In fact, she won a local spelling bee in Newfane, New York, three times and was runner-up four times. Well, there you go. (Newfane is close to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.)
Good stuff, this.
“If you can spell ‘Nietzsche’ without Google, you deserve a cookie.”
— Lauren Leto, essayist
“The English language is full of words that are just waiting to be misspelled, and the world is full of sticklers, ready to pounce.”
— Mary Norris, American author, copy editor for The New Yorker