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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Second Spelling Bee ends without a winner; playoffs scheduled for this week

<hampion has yet to be announced for Carleton’s second annual Spelling Bee, held in The Chapel last Friday evening. After 11 rounds and three hours, the pre-chosen word list was exhausted, but six spellers still remained. “We just had such amazing spellers this year that we ran out of words,” said the event organizer, Julia Bradley ’10.

A final round will be scheduled sometime later this week for the remaining competitors, John Cossette, Jonathan Isaac, Jonathan Hahn, Niki Tomita, Zander Coomes and Isabel Gregersen.

The Spelling Bee was sponsored by Campus Activities and run according to official guidelines of The Scripps National Spelling Bee. The rules of this oral competition are simple. Contestants must correctly spell one word per round and during their turn, are allowed to request additional information, such as a definition, an example sentence and alternate pronunciations. “We tried to follow those rules as closely as possible,” Bradley said.

While efforts were made to follow official rules, the atmosphere was fun and light-hearted. Friends in the audience often jumped to their feet to cheer a correctly spelled word, and the pronouncers greeted many competitors by name.

This year there were two pronouncers, Professor Jackson Bryce from the Classics department and Professor Bill North from the History department. Both Bryce and North had a lot of fun with the bee and would add their own creative introductions in order to break up the monotony of sounding out over 400 words. For instance, one pronouncer told a competitor “I’m afraid this word will get up your nose – ‘rhinitis.’” Another time he joked with the speller and said, “I’m serious about this word now – ‘kerplunk’.”

“Both pronouncers were really great. They did a lot of improvisation. When they didn’t have an example sentence to give, they simply made one up,” Bradley said.

Most contestants approached the event in a similar light-hearted manner. Contestant Alexander Persaud ’09 said, “I was only in it for the fun and didn’t really expect to go far, so the only preparation I did for the event was to show up.” Others wanted to participate simply because the bee reminded them of childhood memories. “The last time I was in a bee was in second grade,” said contestant Grace Flinsch ‘10.

Although the spelling bee was Bradley’s idea, she herself never competed in one. “I didn’t grow up in the U.S. but have always wanted to be in one,” she said. “I also just really loved the documentary Spellbound.” With 40 spellers who participated this year, it seems many students share her fondness for spelling.

“It just is a fun event to go to on a Friday evening,” Flinsch said.

A fun event that, Bradley hopes, will join the ranks of Carleton’s many other traditions. “I would love for it to continue on. We’ll definitely work on ironing out the kinks so that things like running out of words won’t happen,” she said.

The champion will receive a $300 airline voucher, while the second and third runner-up will receive a $125 Target gift card and 75 Schillers, respectively. Who out of the final six will walk away with the grand prize remains to be seen.

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