Spelling bee champ prepares for next test with new words
Stars and Stripes March 19, 2008
Jordan Lay can tell you, you can’t prevaricate your way to victory at a spelling bee.
Not that he’d use those words exactly. But he can spell them.
Jordan, a Spangdahlem eighth-grader, won the 26th annual European PTA Spelling Bee on Saturday at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany, spelling more than a half dozen words correctly before knocking out runner-up Alexandra Coffelt in the final round by properly spelling “dechlorinate.”
When given that final word, “I was thinking, ‘Hurray, I finally probably won this.’”
Alexandra, an eighth-grader from Garmisch, got hung up in the final round on the spelling of “aplomb.”
Juanita Anderson, Jordan’s language arts teacher, said her star student was reluctant at first to try out for the school’s spelling bee, which he won to take a place at the PTA final over the weekend.
“For him to win [the final] was not a surprise at all,” Anderson said.
Jordan said there were a few scary moments. “There were a couple of words that I was a little nervous about,” he said. When the field of contestants had been whittled down to six, Jordan got “prevaricate,” and he wasn’t quite sure how to spell it. He monitored the judges’ faces as he rattled off the letters for any hint that he might have gotten it wrong. But he didn’t.
Since his victory, Jordan has crammed anywhere from 50 to 100 words a day in preparation for the national spelling bee, where he guesses the words will be even harder.
After returning to school Monday, Jordan told Anderson the words he got were pretty easy, she said, so she’s given him an even harder list from which to study.
“I just hope I do my best,” Jordan said of the upcoming national contest. “I think I have just as much of a chance of winning as anyone else.”