Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Julie Rich

Sunset Middle School student wins regional spelling bee


Courtesy Photo From left, Eva Kitlen, Ben Lenger — Regional Spelling Bee winner — and Karen Packard celebrate after the win.

On February 25, 2017 the Regional Northern Colorado Spelling Bee was held at Nevin Platt Middle School. Fifty-one schools were represented and participating students would have to go through 20 rounds of spelling challenging words in order to be named the champion. The task was tough and the competition was too…the winner of this event goes to Washington, DC to compete in the National Spelling Bee.

So how do you spell Bolshevik, rutile, sonicate…just ask Sunset Middle School 7th grader Ben Lenger. Ben represented Sunset Middle School and was joined by SMS Spelling Bee advisor Mrs. Karen Packard, judge Eva Kitlen (former Sunset Middle School student and 2 time regional winner), along with Ben’s family, for this momentous event. Mrs. Packard runs the Spelling Bee program at Sunset and encourages all sixth through eighth-graders to participate, keeping it as a low key and fun club for the students.

On the day of the event, half of the participating students were eliminated by lunch, and as round 12 began, the Regional Spelling Bee was down to the last two competitors. For eight rounds, Ben and one other student from Peak to Peak went head to head. In the 19th round Ben’s opponent had misspelled the word assigned to her. Ben was given “lysis” to spell. Ben needed to spell one more word and in round 20 he was given “Hansard.” Mrs. Packard said she could hear Ben utter, “Oh rats, names are so hard.” As all students are allowed, Ben inquired to the judges, “Is there an alternate pronunciation? The judges responded, and Mrs. Packard saw the look on Ben’s face change – he had figured out the correct spelling and with that became the champion of the Regional Spelling Bee.

You can tune in to watch Ben during the National Spelling Bee, which will be televised on ESPN during Spelling Week beginning May 28, 2017.


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