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East County sends three to regional spelling bee

Tension was so thick you could cut it with a k-n-i-f-e

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - East Oreint Elementary School spelling bee winner Brandon Susi shows off his trophy. Fourth-grader Brandon Susi took the title of best speller at East Orient Elementary School after more than a dozen heart-stopping rounds of increasingly troublesome spelling words.

It came down to a battle between Susi and fellow fourth-grader Trevor Tucker, with Susi winning by successfully spelling the word “cinnamon.” The word “debilitate” stumped Tucker and knocked him into second place.

“I think it is important to engage kids in academic competition,” East Orient Principal James Milliken said. “It helps increase kids’ vocabulary and improves their reading and writing, even the audience.”

The East Orient contest began with 25 nervous third- to fifth-grade spellers, on two rows of folding chairs in the gym beneath the basketball net. The gym bleachers and floor were crowded with schoolmates.

Only one student spelled out in the first round. But as the words got increasingly more difficult, more students tripped up and were eliminated. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: EAST ORIENT - Brandon Susi and classmates celebrate his spelling bee victory. Susi is headed for the regional bee.

By round nine, there were only five students left.

By round 10, the tension was overwhelming. The audience gasped when one speller was defeated by the word “veteran” and another by “phonics.” Susi correctly spelled “skirmish” and Tucker “edification,” to great applause and shouts.

Susi will go on to the 2015 Regional Spelling Bee, which is sponsored by The Pamplin Media Group, The Outlook’s parent company.

Deep Creek-Damascus K-8 School will send eighth-grader Matthew Worthy to the regional spelling contest. Twelve Deep Creek spellers competed on Feb. 4 for 25 nail-biting rounds.

Portland Lutheran held its competition Jan. 23 and fifth-grader Abigail Kim won, with eighth-grader Laurel O’Brien coming in second.

The regional bee is open to school winners in fourth- through eighth-grades from more than 50 schools in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

The regional winner is sent to compete, all expenses paid, in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

The 2015 Regional Spelling Bee will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. in Portland. The event is free, but donations of school supplies are encouraged.


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