STRONG — Emily Wilson, an eighth-grade student at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay, was the last speller standing at the Franklin County Spelling Bee at Strong Elementary School, where five school districts were represented.

Ten students took part in the spelling bee this year. They represented Regional School Unit 58, RSU 9, RSU 73, RSU 78, and Flagstaff RSU/Eustis.

The county’s spelling bee governor, Strong Elementary School Principal Felecia L.L. Pease, said the contest has been held at her school for at least eight years. Bee Master was Cheryl Pike. The judges, from each of the participating school districts, were Shirley Schrader, Kim Ramharter, Judi Richard, Beth Milewski and Katie Wouri.

Because the national competition now includes a computerized vocabulary test, each speller was given a word and asked to identify which of the two definitions listed was correct. Each speller also took part in two practice spelling rounds before the actual competition began. Some of the practice round words were modicum, prolific, fragile, guffaw, devotee, boorish, fluctuation, brethren, jettison and foible.

While half of the students did well in the practice rounds, only three students successfully spelled the words given to them in the first round that counted. The correctly spelled words were albeit, venison and flambe. Austin Marden of RSU 58, Becky Hardt of RSU 78 and Emily Wilson of RSU 73 were the correct spellers.

In the next round, Austin spelled quotidian incorrectly.


Pike then explained that in the following rounds, if the first contestant spelled a word incorrectly, the other contestant would have a chance to spell a word. If that word was spelled incorrectly, the contest would continue until one competitor had spelled two words correctly.

Becky and Emily both spelled the words in the next round correctly. Five more rounds were needed before Emily was able to spell both goatee and average to be declared the winner.

Other competitors included Patrick Storer and Jackson Masterson from RSU 58, Gabe Marcus and Lauren Pinkham from RSU 9, Josh Stewart from RSU 73, Evan Smith from RSU 78 and Serena Sitz from Flagstaff RSU/Eustis.

Each participant received a certificate and a round of applause.

Emily Wilson will represent Franklin County at the state spelling bee, which will be held in southern Maine on March 21. Emily will become a teenager on that date.

Emily is the daughter of Jared and Nichola Wilson of Jay. When asked how Emily prepared for the bee, Nichola said, “She makes anyone who will quiz her do so.”

Emily said, “I tried not to think about it.”

This was Emily’s first time competing at the county level, although she has taken part three times at the district level.

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