PHOTO: Students display their certificates after the 2016 Elmwood Park Spelling Bee. This year's contest will be held Jan. 20.
Last year’s Elmwood Park Spelling Bee required more than 30 rounds before a champion was crowned. How many rounds will it take this year?
We’ll find out later this week when the 2017 Elmwood Park Spelling Bee gets underway 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Elmwood Elementary School.
Parents, family members and plenty of fellow students are sure to be on hand cheering for this year’s 30 competitors from District 401's two elementary schools: 15 from Elmwood and 15 from John Mills.
"The students have been working diligently at both schools," said Elmwood teacher Stephanie Hagins, who is organizing this year’s competition. "Practicing has been going well, and the students are excited and nervous for the big day!"
Spelling Bee at a Glance
► When: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20
► Where: Elmwood Elementary School, 2319 N. 76th Ave.
► What: Thirty students from District 401's elementary schools will compete in the annual Elmwood Park Spelling Bee
Selection and Preparation
The competitors were chosen based on how well they did on the spelling bee’s entrance exam. Elmwood and John Mills students in grades 4-6 were invited to take the exam, which featured words chosen at random from study materials supplied by the E.W. Scripps Company, sponsor of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The students with the top 15 scores at each school were invited to compete in the Elmwood Park contest. They’ve been preparing with their coaches, Ms. Hagins at Elmwood and teacher Pete LoPresti at John Mills.
"However, in order to be successful, students will spend many hours of their own time practicing each week," Ms. Hagins pointed out.
Also assisting the students has been teacher Annina Wanzung, who is the enrichment specialist at both elementary schools.
Last year’s winner was Andrew Ticao of John Mills, who edged out runner-up Seth Tingal of Elmwood. Andrew ended more than two hours of competition when he successfully spelled the winning word, "Campaign."
The Road to Nationals
Friday’s contest is part of the multi-step selection process that will choose participants throughout the country for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, scheduled for May 28 to June 3 in the Washington, D.C., area.
The winner of the Elmwood Park contest will advance to the next round for area qualifiers, to be held Feb. 8 at McClure Junior High School in Western Springs. Friday’s winner will also receive a yearlong subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica.
This year's judges will be Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin M. Anderson, ECC Principal Ms. Joanne Mourikes Rice and Elm Middle School Principal Dr. Kathleen Porreca. The official pronouncer will be Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Nicolas Wade.
"The words come directly from the E.W. Scripps Company," Ms. Hagins said. "They’ve selected the words from popular literature for students in grades 1-8, including books like A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit and Flora & Ulysses."
All parents and family members of the participants are invited to attend Friday’s contest. Refreshments will be provided by Panera Bread and the Elmwood PATT.