A ruling that the MC mispronounced a word in a Spelling Bee at Rockledge Elementary School on Feb. 9 allowed a fifth grader to essentially win the Bee twice in a night.
During the competition for third, fourth and fifth graders, only Emma Knox and Reena Medavaapu remained. Knox was eliminated for misspelling aborigine. Medavaapu spelled the next word correctly, making her the winner.
However, this ruling was overturned when it was brought to the attention of the judges that aborigine was mispronounced by the MC, who said the word with a hard "I" and a silent "E".
The judges ruled that Knox would remain in the competition. Both girls wowed the audience spelling more difficult words in this round.
Finally Knox misspelled supplicate when she forgot the word had two "P's". Medavaapu won the competition with her spelling of uvula.
The third through fifth grade spelling bee is the first qualifying round for the Scripts National Spelling Bee. Medavaapu will now compete against other elementary bee winners in the county. If she wins, she can progress to the regional level.
The Elementary School held two spelling bees on Feb. 9 for students in grades third, fourth and fifth graders and first and second graders.
Winners in the third through fifth grade spelling bee were fifth grader Medavaapu in first place, fifth grader Knox second place and third grader Esha Arora in third place.
In the first and second grade competition, the winners were second grader Arslan Athar at first place, second grader Iqra Ahmad with second place and first grader Keathan McAllister with third place.
The competition was organized by gifted and talented teacher Maggie Leon.
"We were looking for something that would include all of our students," she said.
All students competed on the grade level, and eight top spellers were chosen from each grade. To prepare for the bee, students studied a list of 100 words. Some words would appear in the competition, but it also included other words not on the list. Classes also ran practice bees.
Leon, who has organized a spelling bee once before, said that students were, “very enthusiastic, especially because it was the second year.”
“A lot of the time they learn strategies for the bee, but it translates into their classroom work, such as the "i" before "e" rule," Leon said.
Students who won the spelling bee received plaques, and all participants received certificates.
Medavaapu will go on to represent Rockledge Elementary at the county bee held on March 11.
As most elementary schools in Prince William County did not hold spelling bees, there is a good chance that Medavaapu will go on to represent the county.
Editors note: Esha Arora is in third grade. Her grade was incorrect in the article. Arslan Athar's first name was misspelled. Lake Ridge-Occoquan Patch apologizes for the errors and we will correct errors immediately once we are made aware of any in a story.