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Prep Spelling Bee


By Kristin Kalangis, Middle School English

Thursday, January 10th marked another first for Santa Fe Prep.  The inaugural Santa Fe Prep Spelling Bee was held with a group of nine, nimble, yet fierce competitors. The “Bee” was the brainchild of incoming 7th grade students, Julia Brock and Sophie Hare, who had competed in a Scripps-sponsored Bee at a school prior to coming to Santa Fe Prep. On the second day of school, if I recall correctly, (it may have been the first), these two young scholars informed me, that as their English teacher, I should go online, quickly, and register our school in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  They insisted that we should not miss this “wonderful opportunity” to participate in the National Bee by starting our own school Bee and working our way ‘up’!
Without delay, I enrolled our school. I had been motivated and inspired by Julia and Sophie, however, truth be told, I had always had a hidden desire to be a Spelling Bee Champion! Sponsoring our school spelling bee was, selfishly I admit, yet another way, in which I would be able to re-live a middle school experience the way that I had always imagined it should be.

There are many rules that govern how spelling bees are conducted, and our local “Bee” was no exception. I announced the prospective “Bee” in numerous middle school assemblies. Then, I signed students up who were committed to the work necessary to participate and prepare. The inspiration for studying came predominantly from each student’s desire to do well, but most importantly, not to mortify or embarrass themselves beyond reproach! I gave each of them the necessary materials to study and…they were OFF!  Meeting at lunchtime, making flashcards, and studying together on their own time, they combined the lessons and skills learned in their English, Latin, and Spanish classes in order to master words such as disingenuous, and baccalaureate. “The Nimble Nine” then set off to conquer the elusive, and at times, paradoxical lexicon of the English language (and its many root forms).

The results? Well, let’s just say that any of the nine participants ‘could have’ walked away with the spoils of victory, however, only one student could win, and only two students could represent Santa Fe Prep at the County Spelling Bee to be held on January 24th. After about one, heated hour, only three contestants, of the original nine, were left eligible.  All three of the students were good friends, and were also competitive spellers. In accordance with the National Spelling Bee rules, when there are two spellers left in a round, and one of them misspells a word, the remaining student must spell another last word in order to be declared ‘Champion’.

When all was said and done (spelled), 7th grader Sydney Pope was the only student left standing who spelled all of her words correctly.  7th grader Sofia Bomse finished as the runner-up and 7th grader Julia Brock finished in 3rd place.  I look forward to accompanying these wonderful people as representatives of Santa Fe Preparatory School in the Santa Fe County Spelling Bee to be held in the Jemez Room at Santa Fe Community College. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come support our Griffins!

Oh, what joy to be in love with words! Congratulations to all who participated—Sophie Bennett, Sofia Bomse, Julia Brock, Aidan Daly, Sophie Hare, Nathan Hayes-Rich, Sarbjot Jessop, Sydney Pope, Hailey Tyra!