Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Vinland student crowned county spelling bee champ

February 13, 2002

The third time was a charm for 11-year-old Marianne Sansom.

The Vinland Elementary fifth-grader successfully spelled "selenian" and took the title Saturday of the 2002 Douglas County Spelling Bee at St. John's School. The word means "like the moon," or "containing selenium."

After competing in the bee the past two years, Marianne dedicated hours to studying dozens of words this year. She said her mother stayed up with her until nearly 11 o'clock every night last week to quiz her. Sansom said she even stayed in from recess at school to study the words.

"My mom helped a whole bunch," she said. "I couldn't have done it without her help."

Sansom and runner-up Molly Krishtalka, an eighth-grader at Southwest Junior High School, were the final two contestants. When Krishtalka got tripped up by "readjourn," Sansom had to spell that word successfully, along with her final word "selenian."

"I felt pretty good up there, but I told myself I'd be pleasantly surprised if I did win," Sansom said.

Her parents, Marcia and Charlie Sansom, weren't surprised about their daughter's success.

"When we were sitting there, I thought there hasn't been a word yet that she didn't know," Marcia Sansom said after the event. "I could tell she was pretty confident."

The bee began with 29 spellers representing schools throughout Douglas County. Each student won his or her school championship before competing in the county bee. Each received a medal and certificate of recognition; Sansom also received a trophy.

"Synthetic," "melanoma" and "trichotomy" were just a few of the culprits that eliminated students from the competition. Words for the oral competition were taken from the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Handbook, which lists words from Webster's Third New International dictionary.

Marianne Sansom was recognized for her achievement at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting Monday night and at Vinland Elementary Tuesday afternoon.

She will advance to the All-Kansas Spelling Bee April 6 in Topeka.

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