By correctly spelling the word chutney in the final round of competition, South Bristol sixth-grader Olivia Stiles secured her victory during the Lincoln County Spelling Bee at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Stiles, of Walpole, was one of seven students competing in the bee. Students in fifth through eighth grade at Bristol Consolidated School, GSB, Jefferson Village School, and South Bristol School were given the chance to qualify for the bee by taking first or second place in their respective school bees.
The seven participants at the Lincoln County Spelling Bee included Aubriana Nash and Brooke Seiders from BCS, Benji Pugh and Riley Stevenson from GSB, Gabriel Lawyerson from JVS, and Emma Scott and Stiles from SBS.
Jefferson Village School student Josiah Lincoln also qualified for the bee but was not in attendance.
GSB sixth-grade teacher Liz Norton moderated the bee. Norton read and used each word in a sentence before asking the student to spell it. Becky Cooper, the seventh- and eighth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Bristol Consolidated School, helped judge the competition.
The students were asked to spell words ranging from tutu to bandersnatch.
Once a student incorrectly spelled a word, they were eliminated, until Pugh and Stiles were the final two students left.
Stiles correctly spelled chutney to secure her win in the ninth round of competition. This was Stiles’ first time participating in the county bee.
“I was pretty nervous,” Stiles said. “I can get really shy, and I was worried I was going to mess up.”
After winning the South Bristol School spelling bee Jan. 13, Stiles prepared for the county bee by studying a 36-page workbook that included commonly misspelled words and tips for how to remember certain spellings. Stiles also asked family and friends to quiz her on different words.
Stiles will now advance to the statewide Scripps Spelling Bee, which will be held at the University of Southern Maine in March.
“I’m really excited,” Stiles said. “I come from a small school, so having the chance to go to the state bee and represent the school is really cool.”