“Can we give all the participants an applause?” Carol Linde, the announcer for the event, asked the crowd after congratulating first-place winner Marcia King and second-place winner Meg Carrier. Cheering loudly broke out amongst the audience.
The event, held in the San Juan Community Theatre, awarded the first place winner a trophy and check for $100, $200 to the student’s class and $300 to the student’s school.
Second place was awarded a trophy, and $75, plus $150 for her class and $200 to her school.
The event was specifically for fourth through eighth-graders and included a total of 22 students from the San Juan Island School District and Paideia Classical School. Bob Jarman introduced each participating student, and was quick with the jokes to steady their nerves, before bringing Linde to the microphone to explain the rules and begin the bee.
The rules were straightforward: the participant needed to state the word first, then spell and repeat the word so that the judges, Mary Sliger and Carla Wright, knew they were finished. If the spelling was correct, the judges held up a green card, and if incorrect, the judges held up a red card. A red card meant the student needed to exit the stage, where they were given a medal for participating.
The first round began with words like soup, giggle, midriff and prism. The second round became more difficult with brain-scratchers like sequel, vegetarian, animation and telepathic.
As the words became increasingly demanding, Carrier and King became the two finalists. At that point, the rules changed slightly. If the student misspelled the word, the challenger had to spell that word first. If the contestant was correct, they were given a new word. If the new word was spelled correctly, that student won. If incorrectly spelled, it went back to the other challenger.
Carrier misspelled the word embryo, thus King stepped up to the microphone. She spelled embryo correctly and was then given “hydrogen,” which she also proceeded to get right, making her the winner.
Both Carrier and King are students in John McMain’s seventh grade, meaning the class received a total of $350, and the Friday Harbor Middle School received a total of $500 from the Rotary Club of San Juan Island.
For more information on the Rotary Club, visit https://portal.clubrunner.ca/1358.