YORK — They took on the spelling of words that included “aura,” “diadem,” “tangible” and “derivative.”
But this year, students in the York school district’s annual spelling bee for children in grades three to five had to know more than just how to spell.
They had to know definitions, too – for words including “asylum,” “affluent” and “exorcism.”
School board member Shirley Harris – who, as she has for the past several years, served as pronouncer during Monday’s 30-minute contest of words for students from six local schools – announced that this year’s words were the most difficult ever.
Anthonella Mendoza, a fifth-grader from York Intermediate School, took home the grand champion award after a couple final rounds against runner-up Jevon Long, a fourth-grader from Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary.
In the ultimate round, Jevon missed the spelling of “perceived,” and Anthonella followed up by correctly spelling “complacency.”
Anthonella then won the contest after correctly spelling another word: “anticipatory.”
“I practice a lot at home,” said Anthonella, who said she has been grilling herself on spelling in preparation for the bee for several weeks.
Anthonella also said she spends a lot of time reading, as did many of her competitors.
The four other competitors were Angelica Velasco, fourth grade, Jefferson Elementary; Susie Carver, fourth grade, Hunter Street Elementary; De’Mahrion Walls, fourth grade, Harold C. Johnson Elementary; and Charles Gordon, third grade, Cotton Belt Elementary.
Each competitor earned a place in the district bee by winning a bee at his or her school.
As winner of the district bee, Anthonella will represent York schools Feb. 24 in The Charlotte Observer’s 60th annual regional spelling bee.
The winner of that bee will compete in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee, scheduled for May in Washington, D.C.
Jennifer Becknell • 803-329-4077