Brandywine students prepare for regional spelling bee
Published 8:37 am Friday, February 7, 2014
Brandywine sixth-grader Brandon Kirkendall has a chance to make up for last year’s early exit in the Cloverleaf Spelling Bee.
Kirkendall incorrectly spelled “carafe” to finish 18th out of approximately 50 third- through sixth-graders competing at Lake Michigan College.
While it wasn’t a bad finish, spelling coach Ruth Mitchell said Kirkendall got a raw deal. The person who read the word, she said, pronounced it incorrectly.
Kirkendall believes he would have spelled it right.
“I knew that word,” he said, adding that he should spell it correctly if he gets the word again this year.
Kirkendall is one of three students who will represent Brandywine Elementary School at this year’s Cloverleaf Spelling Bee, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Lake Michigan College’s Napier campus.
Joining him are fifth-grader Megan Wieger and third-grader Kadence Ryder.
Wieger finished first in the school’s competition by spelling “wheedle,” a verb meaning to employ endearments or flattery to persuade someone to do something or give one something.
Wieger said her mom is helping her prepare for the Cloverleaf with quizzes every other night.
“I like spelling,” she said. “I like getting to know the words and where they came from, like Greek or Latin.”
Ryder, who is competing in her first Cloverleaf, said she’s not worried about spelling in front of a large crowd.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” said Ryder. “My dad was in a spelling bee so he really thinks I should win too.”
Mitchell has been helping the students study for an hour after school each day. She’s been coaching spelling bee students for the past 15 years.
“They’ve done pretty well in practice so I think they will do well as long as they don’t let their nerves get to them,” Mitchell said.
Kirkendall’s finish last year was the best finish by a Brandywine student, according to Mitchell.
The 2014 Cloverleaf Spelling Competition is open to Berrien, Cass and Van Buren county public and parochial school districts’ top three school spellers in an individual spelling contest.
Students will compete for numerous cash prizes with the top prize being admission to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee held in Washington D.C. in the spring.