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Spelling Bee Swarms Barkley Elementary

Fort Campbell Courier
Ft. Campbell, KY | March 22, 2018

| Photo: Heather Huber

Nine Barkley Elementary School Beavers stood up on stage Wednesday to take part in the first student council sponsored spelling bee in the new building.

“We would like to give the students as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate what they know. Not just here, but out in the community as well,” said Kathryn Norman, elementary Spanish teacher and student council teacher sponsor.

Over the course of a month, students from third, fourth and fifth grades competed in neighborhood competitions to select three representatives from each grade.

The top nine students in the school participated in a single-elimination competition while their peers, teachers and Family members watched from the stands. Crystal Brooks, reading specialist, and Teresa Moss, guidance counselor, acted as judges for the competition.

One-by-one, the number of students on the stage dwindled. While many of the eliminated students were disheartened by their loss, others like third-grader Jordan Johnson were happy knowing she had done her best.

“Spelling requires a lot of memory and that’s a skill that will come in handy as they go through life,” Norman said. “They also had to make connections between the letters, the sounds [and] the definitions. Some of them are really adept at studying word families and the history of words.”

The final two competitors, fifth-grader Patricia Gregory and fourth-grader Jayden Mondol bounced back and forth on the microphone, spelling everything the judges threw at them with relative ease.

Patricia finally won first place after Jayden failed to spell the word prowess. Patricia said she was not surprised she won because she was confident in her abilities going into the competition.

“Me and my mom practiced every day and my friends practiced with me at lunchtime and every morning,” Patricia said.

Patricia has always been a good speller. She said it is important because it prepares for higher levels of learning.

“It was also important because my older sister won one back at our old school,” Patricia said.

Patricia’s father, Staff Sgt. Haqueen Solia, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment “No Slack,” 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, said he and his wife, Katie, encourage their children to compete at every level so they have something to be proud off on a personal level.

“Honestly I was surprised she wanted to do this because she’s more of a physical competitor with sports,” he said.

Haqueen and Katie brought their three other children to support Patricia in the competition as well.

“We do everything as a Family,” Katie said. “Every time an event goes on, we have to be there. We signed out our eldest from her school, she’s in middle school. We signed her out because she wanted to be here.”

Patricia and Jayden will now move on to the countywide competition in May at Rossview Middle School in Clarksville. Fifth-grader Anna Allen won third place and will act as an alternate for the county competition.

“We hope to make it an annual event,” Norman said.

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