BAXTER - Brainerd eighth-grader Jillian Anderson topped 20 other students to become the Brainerd School District Spelling Bee champion Wednesday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.
Anderson, the daughter of Brian and Julie Anderson of Baxter, won the sixth- through eighth-grade district spelling bee in 14 rounds. Anderson was the only one of the 19 Forestview students and one St. Francis of the Lakes student who spelled all of her words correctly.
Anderson and six other students qualified at the district bee to advance to The Lakes Bee, sponsored by the Brainerd Dispatch and the National Joint Powers Alliance, on Feb. 2 at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. Students from Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties will compete in this bee. The regional winner will then go on to nationals this June in Washington.
Zach Hanson (left), David Jensen and Jordan Kittlesen waited during the tie-breaker showdown Wednesday to see if they had made it to regions during the Brainerd School District Spelling Bee at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The six students who advanced are sixth-graders Emily Bubowski and Grace Gilbertson, seventh-graders Nick Greatens, Jordan Kittlesen and Adam Warren and eighth-grader Rachel Pagarigan.
The 21 students in the spelling bee went through eight rounds and 11 of the students had either one or more misspelled words before being eliminated. This left nine students who went into a tie-breaker to see which seven students would advance to regions. Sixth-grader Zach Hanson and seventh-grader David Jensen competed in three more rounds with the advancing students, but were eliminated when they misspelled two out of the three words.
At the end of Round 11, Brainerd had its seven students who qualified for regions, but it still needed to crown someone as the school district winner. Four out of the seven students had no spelling errors and went into a second tie-breaker competition for the win. The students were Anderson, Bukowski, Greatens and Pagarigan who spelled three more words. In the end Anderson claimed the spelling bee title.
Brainerd eighth-grader Jillian Anderson clapped after winning the Brainerd School District Spelling Bee. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Anderson is no stranger to spelling bee competitions. This was her third year in the district bee and it will be her third year competing in the region bee. Last year she placed eighth in the district bee, missing the chance to advance to regions by one spot. However, one of the students dropped out of the regional bee, giving Anderson the chance to compete. Anderson took her shot and ended up claiming second place.
So winning the district bee Wednesday became even more special to Anderson because she now has a first-place finish to add to her academic resume. She hopes to claim another top spot at the region bee and win herself a trip to Washington.
Going into the spelling bee, Anderson said she expected the words to be harder, but they ended up being easier.
"My friends (on stage) were making fun of me because I was getting all the easy words," said Anderson. "I agree with them. The words were easy."
Anderson said her easiest word was "cheddar," but spelling "lieutenant" was pretty easy too. Anderson said she's had to spell "lieutenant" every year for the past three years on the written test that is given to all the sixth- through eighth-graders to see who qualifies for the oral spelling bee competition.
Anderson's hardest word was "knapsack."
"I asked for its definition to buy me more time," said Anderson. "I forgot if it started with a 'k' or an 'n'."
Words Anderson spelled in the final showdown were "platypus," "nonchalant" and "impropriety."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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