April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Spell Bowl team flowers under chrysanthemum challenge

By By Paul [email protected]

Two months of practice at Hope Elementary School ended in a respectable finish Nov. 19 at the area Spell Bowl competition.

The team, among dozens to congregate that evening at Columbus' Southside Elementary School, finished with 29 points, tying it in the middle of the pack with Scott School of Evansville, Pinewood Elementary School of Elkhart and New Market Elementary School of New Market.

Southside was the division winner with 56 points. The Indiana Association of School Principals simultaneously held Spell Bowl competitions at 43 other sites statewide.

Team Coach Alanie Flack, a special education teacher for the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp., said Hope Elementary's placement was an accomplishment in itself but secondary to the experience. She said she is proud of her team and their drive to excel, given that the majority of its members are fourth-graders who did not participate last year. Fourth grade is the youngest grade level allowed.

"They worked so hard," Flack said. "They were always so excited to tell me when they learned a new word."

She said her team practiced a total of 750 words since the beginning of September. One practice came as a class every day after school, she said. But because of the students' dedication to the cause, they also practiced at home.

Nov. 19 was the culmination of those efforts. An emcee read aloud seven words per round for a total of eight rounds, according to the association. Participants each had 20 seconds to write the word before the emcee proceeded to the next. The best round among Hope students belonged to Trip Reid, who spelled correctly six out of seven words, including neighbor, epidemic, moderator, crustacean, antibiotic and procrastinate.

Other team members were Emmeri Combs, Ellie Roberts, Tyler Hollman, Will Walters, Riley Croddy, Isabella Kilps and Kylie Gosney. Alternates and score keepers were Alan Roberts, Emilee Sessions, Sarah Brenneman, Abby Blair, Lilly Combs and Faith Moss.

The team member daughters of adult proctor Ashley Combs said they practiced between 16 and 20 words a day. Emmeri, 11, said she was somewhat disappointed with the final score but was proud of her performance after working so hard for so many weeks. Lilly, 10, said she also was pleased with how it went and emphasized the fact that she and her sister had studied hundreds of words.

One of those words was "chrysanthemum."

Will Walters, 9, spelled "chrysanthemum" correctly and came away feeling proud of his accomplishment overall. He was equally proud of the team's 29 points.

"We worked a long time," he said.[[In-content Ad]]