BSIC student wins 2013 Finney County Spelling Bee

2/11/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Spelling talents were on display at the Finney County Spelling Bee Saturday morning, culminating in a nail-biting spell-off between two finalists, who will now have the chance to represent Finney County at the state spelling bee scheduled for March 2 in Hays.

Sixty students placed third or better in their respective elementary and middle school spelling competitions, and 55 of those finalists participated at the auditorium of Garden City High School, 2720 Buffalo Way Blvd. The contest included five initial rounds that narrowed the field until only three spellers remained.

During a practice round, emcee Brian Dinkel, who is also a reading instructor at Kenneth Henderson Middle School, told spellers to get their misspelled words out of the way.

The practice round also helped alleviate the kids' nerves as they got accustomed to spelling on stage in front of family and friends.

In round one, 24 of the spellers were eliminated. During each round, spellers could ask for the definition and/or origin of the word and also for the word to be used in a sentence.

This helped several spellers, who after seeming perplexed by a word when first hearing it, seemed to visualize it. In many cases, it was apparent that the kids were sounding the words out in their heads, as they said the letters.

Dinkel then readied the spellers for round two, in which 15 more spellers were eliminated. In many cases, their misspelled word contained the correct letters, but in the wrong order.

One of three judges, Roxanna Reed, prepared the list of spelling words for the competition. The spelling bee entrants randomly drew numbers to determine the order in which they would compete.

"We have no control over the drawing. I really try to hit words that are reasonable for awhile as a confidence builder," Reed said, adding that the difficulty of words increases for the final few rounds of competition.

Reed, along with fellow judges Whitney Kinney and Alicia Simpson, all of whom teach at the high school, took turns providing spellers with definitions.

Despite this help, 13 more spellers were eliminated during rounds three through five, leaving only Guillermo Patino, fifth-grader at Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center, Grace Golladay, fourth-grader at Abe Hubert Elementary School, and Taylor Savolt, sixth-grader at St. Dominic Catholic School, to fight it out for first place.

In round six, Guillermo spelled the word kindle correctly and Taylor spelled arcade correctly, but Grace misspelled her word, mimosa, with an "a" where the "i" should have been. Patino and Savolt then battled it out for first place, going an additional 11 rounds until Guillermo prevailed, by spelling the word hummus correctly.

Afterward, his father, Guillermo Patino Sr., gave his son a fist pound for doing so well.

When asked if he had ever eaten hummus, the younger Patino shook his head no. He said his trick to spelling involves capturing a mental snapshot of words.

"If I see a word, I'll know how to say it and I'll remember it really good, and then if I hear it, I'll know the definition and I'll be able to spell it," he said.

He said he had the most difficulty spelling arteries, but he did manage to spell it correctly.

His mother, Rosa Patino, said she was nervous for him throughout the competition, but in particular, she said, during the final rounds.

"The more he moved ahead, the more nervous and scared I got," she said.

Guillermo said he didn't do much to prepare for the spelling bee.

"He played video games all day," said his older brother, 15-year-old Edgar Patino, who placed third place in a past elementary school spelling bee himself.

In terms of preparing for the state spelling bee, Guillermo said he plans to wing it.

"I'll just see how far I make it," he said.

Taylor plans to utilize the Internet in order to prepare for the state bee.

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