MALTA Some kids might be sleeping in early Saturday morning, but that wasn’t the case this weekend for 19 Dekalb County middle schoolers. By 9:30 a.m., these students were awake and gathered onstage at the Kishwaukee College Theatre Auditorium for the chance head to Washington D.C’s Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Attending middle schools included Genoa, Indian Creek, Hiawatha Junior, Sycamore, Clinton Rosette, Huntley, Hinckley-Big Rock, Sandwich, Somonauk, and St. Mary’s Schools of Dekalb and Sycamore.
After rules and regulations were read out by St. Charles’ Barb Clark from the Dekalb Regional Office of Education, Assistant Regional Superintendent Jeff Smith took over pronunciations. The students warmed up with a practice round, followed by the Bee’s first official word: Twitchy.
“It’s just a really worthwhile endeavor to volunteer for,” Clark said during a break after the fifth round. “Something this year that I think is very cool, is that the 2018 and 2019 winners are here watching the Bee, and they’re going to help the winner understand what to do when they go to the National Bee,.”
Shifting between traditional spelling, and a vocabulary variance in which students demonstrated their knowledge of definitions, the pool of competing students slowly shrank over the course of 19 rounds. By the final round, Tom Keller of St. Mary’s School – Dekalb was left to stand against Sycamore Middle School’s Liliana Jennings.
At the end, 13-year-old Liliana Jennings stood alone, ready to receive the word which, if spelled correctly, would advance her to Washington D.C.
“M-A-C-A-Q-U-E, macaque,” Jennings said into the microphone.
“That is correct.”
Jennings’ mother Sara’s first comment was on how proud she was of her daughter.
“I was crying at the end,” Jennings said. “I was so nervous throughout the whole thing, and just the fact that she won — I can’t tell you how proud I am. She really took over her own studies this year.”
Liliana Jennings shared her mother’s excitement, but added that studying had been hard work. Her strategyhad involved studying page-by-page multiple times to master the study material provided by her school
“I was very nervous, because I procrastinated studying and I probably shouldn’t have done that. But it’s very satisfying. I’m very excited.”
The 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee will run between Sunday, May 24 and Friday, May 29, where upwards of 560 students will compete for the chance to be declared the nation’s spelling champion.
Source: The Daily Chronicle