|From Pikesville Middle School: second place winner Denzel Enos, first place winner Harshit Sarin, and second place winner David Hamburger|
Spelling tests are generally the norm when considering how to boost student vocabularies, but Pikesville Middle School has discovered a far more entertaining alternative. Pikesville, along with elementary and middle schools from all over the globe, has enrolled in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
The preliminary round of the competition, held at the school, was exclusively for Pikesville students. The nine best spellers from grades 6, 7, and 8 squared off to show their skills. After the intellectually taxing playoff, three students remained to prove their proficiency in consonants and vowels. Seventh-grader
David Hamburger was awarded third place, coming in just behind eighth-grader Denzel Enos. The champion of phonics was seventh-grader Harshit Sarin, who out-spelled all the rest and took first place.
Both Enos and Sarin will advance to the Baltimore Regional Bee on March 15 at Towson University. Other winners from Baltimore County who will join the Pikesville champs are Annie Rus and Grace Chandler from Hereford Middle, Jordan Owens and Kaitlyn Thompson from Dundalk Middle, and Dane Stanton and Alexandria MacRae from Lansdowne Elementary.
The winners from each region are sent to Washington, D.C. for the National Bee. Some serious competition takes place at the nation’s capital, but overall everyone benefits from the bee. The event is a great way to encourage students to improve not only their spelling, but their vocabularies as well. Everyone loves a good game, especially when the game promotes literacy and builds brainpower.
|Students were ready to compete at Pikesville Middle School.|
Each school was left to its own devices to unearth the children who would continue to regionals. Hereford Middle chose to create a kind of bracket tournament, with spelling competitions at the individual classroom, grade, and finally school-wide levels. Winners from classroom bees advanced to play at the grade level, and grade winners went on to the finals. The multiple rounds of play spread the feeling of success to more students, giving pride to students who advanced even one level instead of only to those who earned a seat on the bus to regionals. At Dundalk Middle, teacher Katherine Bullock hosts a
Spelling Club in her room once a week after school where students can mix a social aspect into their learning experience.
In addition to the daily vocabulary drills that the BCPS curriculum entails and the studying organized by each individual school, the finalists have taken the initiative to prepare for the big showdown on their own.
“Scripps has provided each of the students with the official spelling bee study guide called Spell It!”explains sponsoring Pikesville teacher Jennifer Givens. Words that may not be in BCPS spelling books, but that are likely to appear in the upcoming contest, are included to give an edge to students practicing good study habits.
Whatever the outcome of the bee this year, the finalists have already made their schools very proud and will doubtlessly do the same for all of Baltimore County Public Schools at the National Bee in May.
Story by Dani Replogle, senior at Towson High School and intern in the Office of Communications. Photos courtesy of Pikesville Middle School.