SeDoMoCha students spell quite well

By Stuart Hedstrom
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The top spellers in each of the four grades at SeDoMoCha Middle School put their talents to the test in the third annual District Spelling Bee on the evening of Jan. 10.


Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom

    THE BEE-ST OF THE COMPETITION — Finishing first and second in the third annual spelling bee at SeDoMoCha Middle School in Dover-Foxcroft on Jan. 10 were sixth-graders Phoenix Eastman, left, and Bella Santagata. Eastman qualified for the Maine Spelling Bee on March 30 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland where he will face the other top spellers from across the state. Santagata will be able to take Eastman’s place if he cannot to attend the Maine bee.

    After nearly 130 presented words, sixth-graders Phoenix Eastman and Bella Santagata were the last two spellers left in contention. Eastman then walked to the microphone and correctly identified all the letters in ambitious, and after Santagata’s turn he had the word vaporize. Eastman spelled out “v,a,p,o,r,i,z,e” correctly to become the 2013 District Spelling Bee champion.

    As the best speller in the Piscataquis County district, Eastman qualified for the Maine State Spelling Bee which is being sponsored by the Portland Press Herald and is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Santagata will serve as the alternate if Eastman is unable to attend the state bee.

    With the bee participants sitting off to the side in the multipurpose room and with rows of parents, other family members and teachers watching, Principal Julie Kimball said, “We are fortunate enough that this is our third year of the spelling bee. I want to thank not only our spellers but Mrs. Carolyn Clark, she is our literacy teacher and our organizer.”

    Kimball thanked the English/language arts teachers — Alexis Coleman, Diane Robinson, Amy Fagan-Cannon and Rheba Michaud for grades 5-8 respectively. “They did all the prep work to get our students here,” she said. Kimball joined Assistant Principal Matthew Lokken and librarian Barbara Lockwood of the Thompson Free Library as the bee judges.

    “Spellers, we’re going to start with a bit of a warmup so you get used to the microphone,” pronouncer and grade 8 social studies teacher Dyan McCarthy-Clark said. The students then all had the same word as practice, “relax”, as they could also go through the bee routine such as asking for a definition and/or have the word be used in a sentence and could hear the ring of a bell if their answer was correct.

    As the spellers began they correctly identified all the letters in 62 words before the first miscue. From there the number of participants slowly dwindled until just Eastman and Santagata remained.

    At the conclusion of the competition Clark said that Eastman and Santagata won $50 and $25 respectively for their finishes. Eastman also won a free semester to “an online world language course,” Clark said, which was presented by Middlebury Interactive Languages.

    Students taking part in the Jan. 10 spelling bee included Ben Atwater, Ryley Hawkes, Skylar Macomber and Steffi Victoria, from grade 5; James Atwater, Eastman, Breanna Jazowski and Santagata representing grade 6; seventh-graders Jenna Clukey, Gaven Cook, Kathryn Robinson and Bailey Weston; and from grade 8 Marie Hartung and Jordan Marshall.

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