Cox takes spelling bee

Spelling bee requires thinking big and small

By Sadie Craig
Mercer Island Reporter

Diminutive. Sedentary. Colossal. Lieutenant.

These words helped narrow the pool in the annual Islander Middle School spelling bee last week. Other words were also big and sometimes fuzzy.

Nebulous and pachyderm knocked out the final two, as Tyler Cox spelled his way to a win with “hypothesize.”

“It’s nice,” he said of the win. “I didn’t really expect it.”

He almost lost on “bureaucracy,” he said, but he sounded it out and tried to see what words it sounded like. He had studied the booklet the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders competing in the event had received. But in the final rounds, these words were not from any booklet; no, they were designed with elimination in mind.

Cox has now qualified for the King County spelling bee, which will send one finalist to Washington, D.C. for a national bee.

“It’d definitely going to be hard, but I look forward to it,” Cox said of the county bee.

And what about D.C.?

“That’s kind of scary to think about.”

Ben Poor came in second place after misspelling pachyderm. Alicia Faison took third place after adding an extra ‘e’ to nebulous.

About 30 students competed, pausing after the first round to enjoy snacks before the competition got hairy.

If they weren’t familiar with a word, students could ask for the country of origin, alternate pronunciations, the definition, and for a sentence using the word. Poor asked for all of the above for each word he spelled.

Some students spent time jotting down their presumed spelling onto scrap paper, wrinkled brows in place, before reading their spelling aloud to the judges.

Librarian Denise Radow organized the event. The annual Seattle Post Intelligencer Spelling Bee is scheduled for March.


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