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Our Redeemer’s students win county spelling bee

Ciara Parizek/MDN Kanyon Trana, of Surrey Public School, checks with the judges during the Spelldown round of the Ward County Spelling Bee held at Minot State University on Wednesday.

Two students from Our Redeemer’s Christian School came out on top at the 2024 Ward County Spelling Bee on Wednesday.

Eighth grader Chilaka Ugobi was the winner, with sixth grader Londyn Lauf finishing as runner up.

Students from several Ward County schools gathered at Minot State University for the annual event. Family members sat among the students to support them in the competition.

The written portion of the spelling bee was done at each school before they gathered for the awards and spelldown round in the Student Center. Medals were awarded to the 19 finalists who participated in the spelldown.

The pressure was on then and tension nearly tangible as the students took their turns at the microphone. Some looked around nervously or looked down as they concentrated. A few of the students even found it helpful to use their fingers in the air like pens to “write” the word in the air to help them remember how to spell the words.

The difficulty in words varied, from simple words like “boba” to longer words, such as “congregation.”

Connor Crowe, of Nedrose Public School, had never heard the word “bilge” before, so he had the pronouncer use it in a sentence. He then spelled it and looked to the judges for confirmation. When he was told by Josh Kitzman, of Edison and John Hoeven Elementary Schools, that it was spelled correctly, Crowe put his hand to his chest and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

The judge panel consisted of Melody Hanson from Jim Hill Middle School, Kitzman, Lilly Taylor from Erik Ramstad Middle School, Alex Schmaltz from Nedrose Public School and Katie Gates from South Prairie School.

Participants were given a practice round using a word provided in writing that they could read directly from their tags or spell from memory. When the actual competition began, students could say the word they were given by the pronouncer before and after they spelled it, if they so desired. They could start over with spelling the word if they needed to, but they were not allowed to change any of the letters. If needed, the word could be repeated, used in a sentence or defined by the pronouncer.

The 19 finalists were Ugobi, Lauf, Crowe, Talah Alakech of Jim Hill, Hermione Dominguez of South Prairie, Adley Gruenberg of Erik Ramstad, Fiona Kruse of Nedrose, Berit Meinert of Erik Ramstad, Kohen Merkel of Erik Ramstad, Aaron Powell of Surrey, Urijah Reichenberger of Our Redeemer’s, Archer Schnaible of Jim Hill, Marshall Smith of South Prairie, Piper Thompson of Surrey, Kanyon Trana of Surrey, Fallon Villareal of Erik Ramstad, Madison Walton of Perkett, Asher Wilhelm of Des Lacs-Burlington and Kirei Zeas-Drake of Des Lacs-Burlington.

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