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Regional spelling bee moved to January

The Daily Star Regional Spelling Bee has been moved to January.

Martha Ryan, spelling bee coordinator, said moving the competition from March to January allows the regional winner more time to practice before the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

“The number one reason for this change is to give our winner a better chance to compete at nationals,” she said. “School bees have until Nov. 30, to crown their champion before the regional spelling bee. Students will be able to use their holiday vacations to practice.”

The regional spelling bee will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, in Goodrich Theater on the SUNY Oneonta campus, with a snowstorm date of the following Saturday, Jan. 21, Ryan said. Daily Star Editor Robert Cairns will be the master of ceremonies.

“SUNY Oneonta has been so generous,” Ryan said. “They offered the theater free of charge.”

This year, 14 component schools in the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego and the Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES have registered so far to host spelling bees, she said. The 14 schools participating are: Afton, Cherry-Valley Springfield, Cooperstown, Delaware Academy, Downsville, Edmeston, Franklin, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, Morris, Norwich, Otselic Valley, South Kortright, Stamford and Worcester.

The “Words of the Champions” study guide lists 4,000 words that could be used at the national bee, the national spelling bee website said. Prior to the school spelling bee, students receive a list of 100 words to practice, she said. This year, the winner and runner up from each school will participate in the regional competition, she said. Each competitor in the regional spelling bee will receive 500 words to study prior to the competition.

“I love this program,” Ryan said. “It engages students with vocabulary and spelling. It’s great kids are learning new words.”

In addition to learning vocabulary and spelling, the competition gives students studying and public speaking skills, she said. During the competition, students must say the words and spell them correctly in front of four judges and the audience.

“By having more kids in the competition, it might take the edge off and give them good energy,” Ryan said of the nervousness of the students in the competition. “It should be a little more exciting with more students participating.” She encouraged more people to come to the competition in order to cheer on the competitors. “Everyone is invited,” she said. “I hope more people in the community come out.”

The winner will compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, the week of Memorial Day.

As a sponsor, The Daily Star pays the registration fee for all schools in the Otsego Northern Catskill and Delaware-Chenango-Montgomery-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services region to compete at the regional level and for the champion to compete at the national level, Ryan said.

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