WARREN - Spelling bee season is under way. On Tuesday, two students at McGuffey School won the right to advance to the Trumbull County Spelling Bee on Feb. 26. They advance to the annual Scripps Spelling Bee sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle on March 10.
N'Diah Saffold, fifth grade, won the school's Grades 3 to 5 bee, and Areyona Louis, seventh grade, took the first place trophy for the Grades 6-8 bee. Runners-up were Toney'sa Maiden, fifth grade, and Cardae Clay, sixth grade.
While holding their trophies proudly, the girls admitted they were apprehensive about the competition.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Bonnie L. Hazen
Fifth-grader N’Diah Saffold, 10, holds her trophy Tuesday at McGuffey School.
"I didn't want to stand up in front of a bunch of people that I didn't know, and it would be embarrassing if I lost," Clay said.
"I was kind of nervous. I thought I was going to get beat by a third-grader," which would have been embarrassing, Saffold said.
Louis said the competition was boring but not difficult - although she couldn't pinpoint a reason for her superior spelling skills.
Maiden said the secret to success is just to look at the word and remember it.
Grades 3 to 8 literacy coach and spelling coach Paula Yauger said prior to the competition, she asked the students to cite the benefits of spelling. Clay responded, "Expanding my vocabulary."
Yauger said the more extensive a person's vocabulary, the better the likelihood of earning a higher salary.
"Also, broadening their vocabulary through (the bee) especially will help them in all areas of the curriculum, especially through reading and writing," she said.
Yauger said the students who participate in the bee are selected by their language arts teacher. She said a few tears were shed after the competition by those who didn't place.
"The kids get very emotional but they're all winners just for being chosen to participate. We had a very nice turnout. Families came to support their children," she said.
The Trumbull County Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Liberty High School. Although it is not a qualifier, it will provide students with the opportunity to prepare for the annual Scripps Spelling Bee sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, which will be held 6 p.m. March 10 at LaBrae High School.
The winner of the Tribune Chronicle spelling bee will compete in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The Tribune Chronicle is among about 280 newspapers / sponsors to host the local spelling bees.