Hancock student wins slot in 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee

March 08, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Charles Smith was not derelict in his spelling Saturday, and in fact, managed to spell "derelict" correctly in the third round of the eighth-grade contest Saturday afternoon at the 29th annual Washington County Spelling Bee at Western Heights Middle School.

Moments later, Charles spelled "dechlorinate" in the fourth round to win the competition.

Charles, last year's seventh-grade winner and a student at Hancock Middle-Senior High School, will represent the area at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C.

The local spelling bee is sponsored by The Herald-Mail. Students from grades six through eight competed in three separate contests, one for each grade level.

While Charles handily won the eighth-grade contest in four rounds, the competition was more fierce in the sixth-grade contest.

After the 18 other students misspelled words in the first few rounds, Joanne Lee of Smithsburg Middle School and Katherine Fowler of Northern Middle School continued spelling for another 10 rounds.


Joanne won the competition by correctly spelling "aurify," a verb meaning "turn to gold."

An early sign of a tough matchup between the two students came during the seventh round, when Joanne misspelled "harbinger" and Katherine missed "bouffant."

The competition between Joanne and Katherine continued so long that pronouncer Will Kauffman, spokesman for Washington County Public Schools, joked with the audience that someone should call out for pizza.

Joanne didn't really practice for the competition, she said after receiving the first-place trophy. However, she reads a lot, and especially likes fantasy books, she said.

Joanne is the daughter of Shoshay Chiang and stepdaughter of Scott Schubel.

Eighth-grade winner Charles Smith also confessed a love of reading fantasy books. He plans to be a lawyer someday so he can help people, he said.

"I can use my love of reading to go get the knowledge I need to do it well," he said.

Charles' win didn't surprise his mother, Kim Smith.

"The amount of reading he does is what helps him so much," she said.

Last year's sixth-grade winner, Tristan Prejean, competently spelled several words Saturday before finally winning the seventh-grade competition by correctly spelling, ironically, "incompetence."

He and his mother, Lisa Prejean, practiced 25 words every night for about two months in preparation for the spelling bee, Tristan said Saturday night during a telephone interview.

Tristan, who attends Heritage Academy, hopes to compete in the Washington County Spelling Bee next year, he said.

The following were the words spelled by Charles Smith, a Hancock Middle-Senior High School student who won the eighth-grade contest Saturday afternoon at the 29th annual Washington County Spelling Bee.

  • vendetta

  • salmon

  • derelict

  • dechlorinate

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