Jefferson Somerset holds spelling bee

Ashley Hunter, ECB Publishing, Inc.

Many American adults have memories of spelling bees when they were children and students.

The activity of a spelling bee is almost as American as apple pie; one of Norman Rockwell's paintings depict a gleeful child winning a spelling bee, and the scholarly tradition of the spelling bee has roots in 1700-1800s America and the use of Webster spelling books and dictionaries.

Now, spelling bees are common throughout the world, with students in Canada, Nigeria, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, and many other countries all taking part in this educational tradition.

On Friday, January 18, students at Jefferson Somerset put their spelling to the test as spelling bee pronouncer, retired educator and Monticello Altrusa Club President Anita Ashworth quizzed the fourth-eighth grade students.

Jefferson Somerset Activities Director Nancy Whitty was present to aid Ashworth with the quizzing and to encourage the children as they spelled words such as “Gremlin,” “Fiji,” “Artistic,” and more.

Despite some fumbles and misspellings, every student was calm and poised as they spelled out their word. Whitty and Ashworth were given the student's full attention and respect throughout the entire spelling bee, with the students congratulating one another on a job well done. At the end of the round of spelling, Whitty and Ashworth provided pointers to the students who had misspelled words and helped them understand where, and why, they had fumbled.

At the end of the spelling bee, it was announced which of the nine students had placed in the top third spots for their school-wide spelling bee: Brianna Murray, Georondre Pittman, and Jonathan Youngblood.

First place winner Brianna Murray is an eighth-grader at Jefferson Somerset, Second place winner Georondre Pittman is a fifth-grader, and Third place winner Jonathan Youngblood is in the seventh grade.