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LKSD's 2024 Spelling Queen Bee

Katie Basile

On the day of the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) Spelling Bee, Bethel Regional High School student Trenton Beaver signed up, upping the ante in what was going to be a one-person race.

LKSD Spelling Bee Judge Sharon Wegner read competitors the rules of the competition. Spellers needed to be under 15, and should face judges when they pronounced and spelled the word, since seeing the lip movement could be critical in judging. But that wasn’t going to be an issue this year.

"Obviously this was for somebody that was going to be in person, but sometimes at the district level it isn't. So we have Zoom,” said Wegner. ”So when you guys, when I'm asking you to spell the word, if you could just give me your letters and spell the word that way and you're audible, meaning you're loud enough for us to hear.”

The virtual competition kicked off at 2 p.m., and words were given to the two students in rounds. Once a participant got a word wrong, it would go back to the other student. If the student got the word right, they would win and move on to the state competition.

The bee started with the word “dazzle,” given to Gladys Jung Elementary student Kamerynn Foss.

“Impress, deeply overpower, or stupefy with brilliance,” defined Wegner. “‘I have practiced the piece for weeks and was sure it would dazzle the audience at the recital.’ Please spell the word. Dazzle.”

“Dazzle,” said Foss. “D-A-Z-Z-L-E. Dazzle.”

During Beaver’s first word, Bethel’s notorious internet issues broke up the feed.

“I heard you, but um,” said Beaver. “Oh yeah. Let me re-read it again,” said Wagner. “Because it just said that your connection was unstable. Your word is plunger. A device that works by being thrust quickly and forcibly into a liquid or other medium. Dad bravely picked up the plunger and went into the bathroom to get the toilet unclogged. Please spell the word plunger.”

“ Plunger. P-L-U-N-G-E-R,” said Beaver.

“Okay, that is correct,” said Wegner. “Moving on to round two.”

The two contestants spelled out poisonous, invisible, improve, inscription, and yesterday. During round four, high-schooler Beaver spelled "recital" wrong. It went back to elementary student Foss, and if she got the word she won the bee.

‘So this next word that is on the list for Kamerynn, it’s the anticipated championship word. If she spells this word correctly, then she will be winning the district spelling bee,” said Wegner.

The word was delegation.

“Delegation,” said Foss. “D-E-L-E-G-A-T-I-O-N. Delegation.”

And so Foss, of Gladys Jung Elementary, won the 2024 LKSD Spelling Bee.

“Kamerynn, you won the district spelling bee. Congratulations," said Wegner. "I know it was only five words. So my suggestion is you continue to keep practicing, and basically the rule of thumb is that any word that appears in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is basically a word that can be chosen."

Foss has one more step before the state competition. Along with other district champions from around the state, she’ll have to take an online spelling test. If she is in the top 75 to 100 spellers in the state, she will go on an all-expenses paid trip to the State Spelling Bee in Anchorage on March 20.

Sunni is a reporter and radio lover. Her favorite part of the job is sitting down and having a good conversation.