Green Valley eighth-grader Kazia Orkiszewski correctly spelled Statuesque and Circumvent to land the top spot in the Watauga County Schools district-wide spelling bee held Oct. 13. Hardin Park fifth-grader Sam Nystrom and Cristian Hamilton of Blowing Rock tied for the runner-up spot in the contest.
The top-speller in each school was invited to attend the competition held at the WCS central office. This year’s contestants were: Chloe McClure of Bethel, Cristian Hamilton of Blowing Rock, Sullivan McAulay of Cove Creek, Kazia Orkiszewski of Green Valley, Sam Nystrom of Hardin Park, Isaiah Watson of Mabel, Lucy Hodges of Parkway and Grant Painter of Valle Crucis.
Each school’s champion advanced to the WCS finals of the spelling bee by winning a competition among fourth-through eighth-grade students at their school.
Meredith Jones, Watauga County Schools Director of Secondary Education, said it was no small task for a student to make it to the central office for the district-wide competition.
“Congratulations are in order for all of our fantastic spellers,” Jones said. “It’s a real achievement to be the top speller in your school and to and to make it to the district bee. I’m proud of the way each of our students represented their school in the contest, and I’m grateful for the support that we receive from local businesses so we can make this happen.”
The 2017 district spelling bee was sponsored by Carolina West Wireless and SkyLine/SkyBest. Several local businesses also donated prizes for each contestant and the bee champion, including: Appalachian Ski Mountain, Blue Ridge Vision, Boone Chamber of Commerce, Boone Drugs Inc., Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, First Citizen’s Bank, Hardee’s, Linville Caverns, Lowes Foods, Mellow Mushroom, Mystery Hill, The Tanger Outlets and Tweetsie Railroad.
This year’s bee was also made possible by the work of a team of school personnel and volunteers. Jones along with Renee Battle of the central services team coordinated the logistics and planning for the WCS Spelling Bee, and school level coordinators oversaw the spelling bee competitions at each school.
Wayne Eberle, WCS director of accountability and school improvement, served as the pronouncer, while Assistant Superintendent Stephen Martin, Curriculum Specialist Betsy Furr and Wysteria White from the Boone Chamber of Commerce served as the panel of judges.
The next round of spelling bee competition for Kazia Orkiszewski will be the regional spelling bee.
Photo Credit – Watauga County Schools – District spelling bee champion Kazia Orkiszewski with father Paul, Green Valley Principal Phil Norman and teacher Emily Green.