Fourth grade spelling squad selected

Published 10:57 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

By By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
It took 20 rounds from red, white and blue word lists before Dowagiac determined its five-member fourth grade team Wednesday morning for the Cass County Spelling Bee Feb. 24 at Southwestern Michigan College.
Josh Follett and Jackie Hurrle of Justus Gage, Lauren Smith of Kincheloe and Kayland Shepard of Patrick Hamilton cinched four spots on the squad during initial rounds among 20 competitors from the four elementary schools, including Sister Lakes, at Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center.
The fifth slot eventually went to Kayla Cromer of Kincheloe, who outdeuled orange-shirted teammate Macey Hess, who becomes the alternate for the county bee.
Also representing Justus Gage were Taylor Hulett, Alyssa Starrett and Catherine Wirick, with Alyssa Eblin as alternate.
Rounding out Kincheloe's five female spellers were Hannah Delaney and Madison Phelps. Marcus Winchester-Jones was alternate.
Patrick Hamilton's team also consists of Odette Banda, Mariah Green, Diamond Huff and Brett Schultz. Zaccyah Bacon was alternate.
Sister Lakes sent Lea Cooper, Julio Moreno, Christianna Schommer, Aspen Smith and Justin Taggart, with Alexis Chorba in reserve.
Kayla and Macey emerged from a pack of eight spellers tied after rounds from the red list, which is harder than white or blue.
The girls plowed through G, H and I – gesture, glacial, gingham, gourd, greasy, habitation, guitar, hoarse, humiliate, hysterical, illiterate, impatiently, imperative, implied, implements and impromptu – until Kayla finally prevailed by spelling implied correctly.
School nurse Eva Hecht pronounced words while Principals Marcy Hendress of Justus Gage, Dawn Conner of Kincheloe and Heather Nash of Patrick Hamilton judged and kept score.
Nash also practiced her dictionary skills extensively as the savvy spellers stalled for time by asking for definitions of their words, although learning that an astrologer is someone who practices astrology didn't seem to help much.
DMS spelling coach Denise Stockwell said her team of sixth, seventh and eighth graders will not be selected until mid-February.
Fifth graders were to compete Wednesday afternoon at the PAC.