PORT CLINTON - Port Clinton Middle School seventh grader Shantha Weit loves words. A lifetime of reading has developed not only a passion for language but also an instinctual ability to recognize word roots. On Jan. 31, her linguistic skills helped Shantha win the Port Clinton Middle School Spelling Bee, the local round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“She loves to read. She loves languages. She loves to find the roots of words — the Latin and Greek roots,” said Shantha’s mother, Soni Weit.
Sixteen students competed in the spelling bee, which was held in the Port Clinton High School Performing Arts Center. The competition was moderated by Kristen Quisno Witt, Port Clinton Schools speech pathologist.
As the difficulty level rose throughout the competition, students correctly spelled words like fumatorium and misericords but were eventually eliminated by words like Sikhism and eurythmic. Shantha won the spelling bee by spelling doppelganger correctly. Nayellie Fritz came in second place, and Maxon Fluckinger came in third.
Finished tenth last year in regionals
This is the second year Shantha won the school’s spelling bee.
“Last year, I made it to the regionals, right before D.C.,” Shantha said. “I was tenth last year in regionals.”
Two elements contributed to Shantha’s wins: her love of reading and her commitment to study.
“There’s a list from Scripps, and I studied the list,” she said.e
Studying is a well-versed habit for her.
“She’s motivated. She studies. All of that helps,” Soni said.
Shantha spent about three weeks prepping for the bee, but she reads all year long. Reading helps her mind naturally absorb words and word roots.
“I accidentally pick up the roots sometimes. I don’t study them. I just pick them up,” she said.
Students earned the right to compete in the bee by winning classroom competitions. The top competitors from sixth, seventh and eighth grades competed in the Jan. 31 bee.
Spelling bees have many benefits
As the school’s winner, Shantha has the chance to compete in the regional Scripp’s Bee at Owens Community College later this month.
“There is an online competition. If they do well, they get asked back to compete in person,” said Dennis Antonelli, Port Clinton Middle School principal.
Antonelli said a spelling bee has many benefits for students.
“Obviously, there are a lot of language arts ties. There’s that relationship with language,” Antonelli said. “But it’s also an opportunity for the students to get up and perform in front of their peers. Port Clinton has a strong tradition in athletics, but we also have a strong academic tradition.”
That academic strength deserves recognition.
“We’ll take any chance we can to celebrate that and have a little fun, too,” Antonelli said. “The kids did great. I’m really proud of them.”
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Weit wins her second Port Clinton Middle School spelling bee