Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

BJHS’s Sansom casts spell

February 24, 2005

What do the words "zucchini" and "occupancy" have in common?

A Baldwin Junior High School eighth-grader correctly spelled both and became a three-time winner Saturday in the Douglas County Spelling Bee.

Marianne Sansom had been there and done that, but this year she especially wanted to earn the title of county spelling champ.

"I've been here since the third grade and this is my last year, so I wanted to win really bad," Marianne said. She will now move on to compete in the state spelling bee set for March 25 at Washburn University in Topeka.

Marianne had won the county spelling bee when she was in the fifth and sixth grades. Experience paid off when the pressure was on Saturday during the contest in the auditorium at Southwest Junior High School.

After nearly two hours of competition, Marianne and Bishop Seabury eighth-grader Carina Fowler were the ones, of 27 elementary and junior high school students, still spelling. One by one the others fell out, as words such as "aromatic," "latticed" and "mistletoe" took their toll.

Then Carina was faced with having to spell "zucchini." She misspelled it.

Marianne then spelled it correctly. But to win the contest Marianne had to get one more word right, which she did by spelling "occupancy."

"I was pretty sure it was over," Carina said later, recalling the moment. "She's a pretty good speller."

Marianne said she never had any hesitation about spelling any of the words she was given.

"I thought I was going to be pretty nervous, but I wasn't as nervous as I had been in the past," she said.

Both girls had practiced spelling words at home with their mothers.

"I'm very proud of her," Doreen Fowler said of her daughter. "She spelled words that I would have misspelled."

Marcia Sansom had similar sentiments about her daughter. "She did great. She seemed to be in control, and she knew what she was spelling."

The spelling bee, sponsored by the Journal-World, featured Free State High School physics teacher Mike Hess as the event announcer. The three judges were Sue Vossler, of Schwegler School; Linda Longino, of Langston-Hughes School, and Mindy Stahmer of Broken Arrow School. All were impressed with the students.

"They were very, very well-prepared and obviously took it seriously," Vossler said.

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