The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA), Vermont Humanities Council, and the Times Argus / Rutland Herald hosted a statewide individual spelling bee for Vermont students on March 19 at the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael’s College in Colchester.
Thirty-seven elementary and middle school students – under the age of 16 – participated in this competition. Students had already competed in their regional bees during the winter.
Isabelle Petrucci, of Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, spelled her way through 13 rounds before misspelling a word in the 14th round.
“That was a great competition,” Associate Executive Director at VPA Bob Johnson said. “The last five spellers in the competition – which included Isabelle – had obviously worked hard to be there.”
Third place was awarded to Benjamin Weinstein, of Camels Hump Middle School, when he was eliminated during the 21st round. For another 21 rounds Lucinda Storz, of Thaddeaus Stevens School, and Alice Early, of St. Mary School, were locked in a fierce spelling battle.
In the 41st round Early misspelled the word “roodebok”. Storz continued to the final round and properly spelled the word “ipecac” to end the longest Vermont bee ever – 42 rounds.
“To think that a student could go through and spell 42 words correctly is quite an accomplishment,” said Johnson who has been a part of the contest since it started in 2005. “This was the longest bee we’ve ever had. It started at 3:30 p.m. and ended at 6 p.m.”
Last year’s bee lasted for 25 rounds and only a handful of previous competitions have reached 30 rounds.
Storz will travel to Washington, D.C., in late May to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, competing against top spellers from every other state in the nation. In addition to advancing to the national spelling bee, Storz received a trophy and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
The top three spellers received reference books and gift certificates. Early received a plaque and all students will receive a medallion for advancing to the state level.
All of the students who compete in the national spelling bee this May will receive cash prizes ranging from $50 to the $12,000 championship prize.
Joe Cardello contributed to this article.