Under your spell: Kids have ‘audacious’ time during annual bee

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

The art of spelling is alive and well in Evergreen.

In an age where spell-check is the easy fix, 17 students from Bergen Valley, Parmalee and Wilmot elementary schools and Evergreen Middle School competed Feb. 4 in the annual Evergreen spelling bee. In the spelling bees, students must spell out loud without any aids such as paper and pencil or computers. This year’s bee was at Wilmot.

Cal Schiff, a sixth-grader at EMS, won the bee for the second year in a row. He beat EMS students Berit Ashby, who took second place, and Emma Funderburgh, who took third, in 19 rounds of competition.

Wilmot teachers were quick to point out that both Cal and Berit attended Wilmot.

Cal spelled “audacious” and “raucous” to win the tournament, which is part of the national Scripps Spelling Bee. Berit lost on the word “preposterous,” and Emma lost on the word “incoherently.”

The students correctly spelled such words as “succumb,” “monumental,” “provincial,” “indivisible,” “archaic” and “intuitive.”

Cal will go on to compete in the 73rd annual state spelling bee on March 16 at the Colorado Convention Center. The winner of the state bee will compete in the national Scripps Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.

According to the Scripps spelling bee website, the national spelling bee started in 1925. Five Colorado winners have gone on to win the national bee, the most recent in 2002.

Cal’s parents, Ted and Kathy Schiff, already are looking to next year, when they hope he can win the area bee a third time.

For his part, Cal is happy to have won this year, and he’s looking forward to the state tournament.

He continues to read a lot and studies spelling with his mom.

Berit said she studied hard with the help of her mom, who pronounces the words while Berit spells them.

Their parents, who were sitting in the audience, were proud of their achievements and their spelling abilities.

Berit’s parents, Eve and Andy Ashby, agreed that Berit’s hard work helped her to do well in the bee.

Cal’s dad, Ted Schiff, said: “I’m so proud of this guy. He astounds me every day. He’s a great all-around kid.”

Kathy Schiff added: “He just gets it” when it comes to spelling. “It’s something that comes naturally to him. Even from last year to this year, he has improved so much.”

Other students participating in the Evergreen bee were: Aiden Tarpinian, Molly Schmitt, Noah McQueen and Katy Franey from Wilmot; Logan Donahue, Ethan Smith, Ethan Burge, Jacob Frye and John Tenney from Parmalee; Kit Winfrey, Lauren Prunty, Brock Zanetell and Zane Larson from Bergen Valley; and Kai Haith from EMS.

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.