For nearly three hours, students from around McHenry County vied for a championship on March 2.
The winner of the McHenry County Spelling Bee won an all-expense paid trip to the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in May.
The spellers prepared for months. For some, it was their last shot. Individually, they stepped to the microphone, based on a random number draw. Contestant No. 1, Justin Chase of Mary Endres Elementary School, spelled “bandit,” and the competition began.
Each contestant had his or her personal strategy. Chase seemed to move his eyes into the corner of his brain, where the word lay revealed.
Georgia Sedlack of Olson Elementary School adjusted the mic, before stepping right, searching the audience, and proceeding with a smile. Serena Huberty of Richard Bernotas Middle School, wrote each word on the palm of her hand. Jillian Popovich of St. John the Baptist Catholic School, repeated the word and without hesitation, spelled it. Ved Patel of Cary Junior High School, proceeded with caution before uttering each letter in spaced staccato.
“May I please have the definition?” Patel asked. Next, “May I please have it in a sentence?” Followed by, “May I have the origin?” His caution proved successful.
After 39 rounds, he clinched the county championship with the word, “precession:” a word meaning, the motion of the rotation axis of a rigid body, as in “The slow conical motion of the top’s slanting axis represents the course of precession;” of Latin origin. Patel said he knew the word.
First and second runners-up came four rounds later when: Huberty spelled “acquisitive” incorrectly; Popovich clinched second place by spelling “convalesce” correctly.
The McHenry County College, the Regional Office of Education, and the Northwest Herald sponsored the 2016 McHenry County Spelling Bee.
The Judges were Leslie Schermerhorn, regional superintendent of schools and Lucas Urbanski, four-time McHenry County Spelling Bee Champion.
The harrowing task of pronouncer fell to Linda Riggs, retired teacher from District 26 and McHenry County College.
Besides the trip to the National Spelling Bee, Patel won a Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Subscription, Valerie’s Spelling Bee Supplement, and a plaque sponsored by the Regional Office of Education.
Popovich won a Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, and a plaque.
Huberty took home a plaque. All participants received a Certificate of Achievement.
Other participants were: Sajiv Shah, Prairie Grove Junior High School; Christian Graves, Zion Lutheran School; Ian McEwan, Marengo Middle School; Tagan Gizel, Riverwood Elementary School; Amari Ahmad, Heineman Middle School; Nicholas Mrozek, Nippersink Middle School; and Anna Webber, Alden-Hebron Middle School
–Cary Junior High School’s Patel wins McHenry County Spelling Bee —