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Find out which Central Park schools won half of the 25 DPS spots in the State Spelling Bee

Students from three Central Park schools won 13 out of 25 spots in the qualifying round on Feb. 9 for the Colorado State Spelling Bee on March 9.

Denver Green (middle) School Northfield took top honors with 10 winners. Westerly Creek Elementary had two and Willow Elementary placed one student.

In the age of spell check and with spelling seemingly less valued than in the past, why are spelling bees still popular?

Educators note that spelling well helps students understand what a text is saying which improves reading comprehension. It instills the basics of phonics and advanced vocabulary building techniques while enhancing writing skills. By spelling correctly students are more likely to be able to construct sentences properly and write coherently, educators say.

“For kids that excel at it, I think they just like the mental challenge,” said Stephanie Brown, GT teacher at Denver Green.

“A lot of them have naturally very good memories and are avid readers. They like it (spelling bee) because it forces their brains to work in a different way.”

It also helps strengthen their ability to face adversary.

“They learn how to handle high levels of stress,” Brown said. “Learning how to fail and to learn from failure is probably the most important lesson from it.”

Central Park qualifiers for the Colorado State Spelling Bee     

  1. Elliot McGregor, Denver Green School Northfield, 6th grade
  2. Hudson Olson, Denver Green School Northfield, 6th grade
  3. Jeremy Przybyl, Denver Green School Northfield, 6th grade
  4. Adrian Whitworth, Denver Green School Northfield, 6th grade
  5. Annika Fredrick, Denver Green School Northfield, 7th grade
  6. Natalia Lucio, Denver Green School Northfield, 7th grade
  7. Zev Sigel, Denver Green School Northfield, 7th grade
  8. Caleb Depledge, Denver Green School Northfield, 8th grade
  9. Finn Meyer, Denver Green School Northfield, 8th grade
  10. Quentin Whitworth, Denver Green School Northfield, 8th grade
  11. Finnley Brown, Westerly Creek, 5th grade
  12. Phoenix Sbrocca, Westerly Creek (5th Grade)
  13. Rudy Morales-Egizi, Willow Elementary, 4th grade

Inspire Elementary participated for the first time in the city event but none of their students advanced to state.

“They were excited and nervous,” said Principal Linda August. “There were some tears as students misspelled words in their classroom or in the school-wide spelling bee.”

August agreed with Denver Green’s Brown on the challenge the bee presents and the lessons it can instill.

“Something that can be difficult is how to handle it when we do not win or when students put in a lot of effort (studying spelling lists) and do not have the outcome they are hoping for,” she said.

But that’s part of the value of a competition like a spelling bee, August said.
“Giving students an opportunity to strive for success, regardless of how far they make it in the Spelling Bee is character building and it helps students develop academic skills such as language skills, memory and recall and persistence,” she said.
Will it be an annual event?
“Absolutely!” August said.

The three grade-level teams from Inspire that went to the city spelling bee. (left to right)

3rd Grade (Will Stenson, Autumn Rush, and Amelia Vogelgesang); 4th Grade (Addie Tinklenberg, Amelia Hires, Sterling Snider); 5th grade (Ruby Johnson, Kinsley Strickman, and Everett Muther)

Seventy two school winners from grades third to eighth went to the city Spelling Bee. Students took a written test of 50 spelling words and 25 multiple choice for vocabulary. On Feb. 28 approximately 80 qualifiers from around the state will take more written vocabulary and spelling tests in the opening round of the state bee; a written test makes the process much more manageable timewise and for logistics than doing it orally with all contestants in one place.
Winners of that round will advance to the state oral finals March 9 at the University of Denver. The Scripps National Spelling Bee will be held the week of Memorial Day (May 27) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. More than 200 spellers from across the country and around the world will compete in the three-day event.
Spelling bees are not named for the insect. The term refers to a gathering of people who come together for a common purpose to help achieve a task similar to sewing or quilting bees. 
Other qualifiers from DPS:
  1. Amir Hassan, Slavens K-8 School, 7th grade
  2. Laszlo Stone-Potyandy, Denver Language School, 5th grade
  3. Harper Kannen, Denver School of the Arts 7th grade
  4. Amy Davis, Denver School of the Arts, 6th grade
  5. Sebastian Manayo, Denver Language School, 7th grade
  6. Cassidy Mayer, Denver Language School, 7th grade
  7. Matthew Faulk, Slavens K-8 School, 7th grade
  8. Jack Klemt, Denver Language School, 7th grade
  9. Kaiden Barwick, Denver Language School, 7th grade
  10. Sylas Rigridge, Edison Elementary, 4th grade
  11. Beatrix Peterson, Denver School of the Arts, 7th grade
  12. Callan Martin, Denver Language School, 6th grade
The history of the national spelling, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica: 
In 1925 the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, the organizer of a state bee for Kentucky grade-school students, invited other American newspapers to join it in sponsoring students to compete in a national bee; it is open to students up to the eighth grade. More than two million schoolchildren entered competitions on the local level, and by June the field had been narrowed to nine contestants—one for each participating newspaper—who were sent to Washington.
The inaugural champion was 11-year-old Frank Neuhauser of Louisville, who correctly spelled gladiolus to claim a prize of $500. The event proved popular, and the number of participating newspapers (and therefore contestants) soon proliferated. In 1941 the sponsorship of the national bee was assumed by the Scripps newspaper conglomerate, though individual newspapers continued to represent students regionally.
Merriam-Webster began an affiliation with the bee in 1958, with its Webster’s Third unabridged dictionary emerging as the official arbiter of a word’s spelling; the company also produced a study guide for contestants.
By the late 20th century, the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee (renamed Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2004) had expanded to more than 200 contestants hailing from areas throughout the United States and its territories as well as from several other countries.
The spelling bee has been held every year except for 1943–1945 due to World War II and 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. The Bee is held in late May and/or early June of each year. Its goal is educational: not only to encourage children to perfect the art of spelling, but also to help enlarge their vocabularies and widen their knowledge of the English language.


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