VALHALLA, N.Y. -- The Valhalla Middle School’s annual spelling bee on Thursday started with 31 students and ended with two. But time ran out before there was a winner, so the spelling bee will be concluded after spring break.
The two finalists, John Phillip and Lucas VanBramer, both eighth-graders, spelled more words right than the other students, but were unable to finish because the school day ended.
Allison Li, a sixth-grader, came in third place and she and the rest of the students were eliminated with misspellings.
It was a single elimination tournament, with students instructed to state the word, spell it and repeat it after spelling. A single mistake was grounds for elimination and no word could be respelled.
Eileen Clark, an eighth grade language arts teacher, said spelling bees are harder to conduct these days, “because everyone writes in text in short form, and people use computers to check spelling, so proper spelling has been lost. But holding a spelling bee is important because students know how to spell words correctly.”
Students had strategies for spelling words correctly, pointing out each letter in their palms and asking the moderator, Bret Erenberg, a social studies teacher, to define the words and use them in a sentence.
The auditorium was full of fellow students, who enthusiastically cheered on the spellers.