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Three local whiz kids hope to be queen of the bee

School district is sending three of its best spellers to regional competition Saturday in Portland


The 11th annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Hollywood Theater, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. in Portland.

Three local spelling whiz kids will represent the Oregon Trail School District.

Over the past couple months, schools throughout the Oregon Trail School District have been quizzing their kids on spelling, and three hard workers have advanced to the regional spelling bee: Savannah Demicoli, a seventh-grader from Welches Middle School; Ella Anderson, a fourth-grader from Oregon Trail Primary Academy; and Kyra Child, a fifth-grader from Sandy Grade School.

Oregon Trail Academy Principal James Milliken says Ella, 9, has been studying hard for the competition, just as she did for the school’s competition.

Academy students participated in class bees, written spelling tests within their classrooms, before advancing to the schoolwide spelling bee. That competition was divided into two groups: kindergarten through third grade, where students are just getting in some practice; and fourth through seventh grade, the winner of which got to advance. More than 20 students participated.

Ella’s winning word was “seraphic.” Leading up to her win she also spelled “juxtapose,” “smithereens,” “unctuous” and “erstwhile.

“She earned that win,” said Milliken, adding that she’s been quite the study enthusiast.

Kyra, 10, says that lately, many of her friends have been yelling words for her to spell as she walks down the hall. “But then they don’t know how to spell them, and we have to go find a dictionary,” she said.

The word she is most proud of spelling during one of the random shout-outs is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

When asked how they are helping her to prepare, Kyra’s parents said she doesn’t really need their help. They said she’s working hard to ready herself all on her own, though they occasionally throw words at her while riding in the car.

“She’s very motivated,” said Kyra’s dad, Kristopher Child. “She reads. She’s always been a good reader.”

Kyra said her favorite book is “Brisingr,” the third book in the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini, and she is now in the middle of reading five books: “All About Sam,” “Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade,” “The Reptile Room,” “Eragon” and “Brisingr.”

When she grows up, Kyra said she wants to develop and sell her own video games, or possibly become the first “woman-backslash-gamer president.”

Kyra’s mom, Sara Child, will be there to cheer her on at Saturday’s Bee and reminds her that, “It doesn’t matter if you win, as long as you try your hardest.”

The winner of the March 15 Regional Bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C, in May.