Garrettsville – Excitement filled the air. Tension mounted as the contestants moved into position for the competition. The crowd was hushed…. No, wait…this was the annual James A Garfield Middle School Spelling Bee…this crowd is never hushed…quiet, maybe…attentive, perhaps…but hushed? In your dreams, Principal Tom Sullivan, organizer Jackie Lovelace, in your dreams.
The judges table featured a Webster’s Unabridged, three judges and the dreaded bell to signal lack of orthographic (Look it up) success.
The microphone–center stage–was adjusted to pick up the veriest whisper from the height-challenged or the stratospherically-inclined.
And the words rolled forth: gnash, versatile, suffrage, grammarian, monstrosity …speaking of which, who picks these things out anyway? One interesting moment of the event came about when Becky Kirk, who was cruisin’ up to that point, got the word, “yippee”. The pronouncer spoke the word…silence…spoke the word again–with definition…silence…spoke once more, with feeling…then Becky turned and said, incredulously, “Is that THE WORD?” It was, and she spelled it right to move on to the next round. At one point, all of the spellers in the rotation had missed their words, so everyone got another crack at the brass ring.
The two survivors of the process, Chandler Bee and Ethan Milko–a seventh grader and an eighth grader, held up through all that and the finale words–surmountable and herringbone–to take finalist honors and head for the county bee which will take place at Maplewood Career Center on February 1st at 6:30 p.m. Congratulations to all participants and good luck to our champs as they head to The Big Enchilada.