Islands' Sounder


Keeping the spirit of words alive | Editor's notebook

January 22, 2013 · Updated 11:09 AM

The words showed up only when I closed my eyes.

With my eyelids pressed down tight, I could see the letters clearly, their sequence emblazoned across my imagination.

I went to a small, private school, and our spelling bee included the sixth through twelfth grades. I was fairly confident I would win against the other middle schoolers, but when I was the last one standing against the entire student body, I was filled with euphoria.

I embraced my inner nerd with pride – and I still do. But with the advent of auto-correct in both word processing and cell phones, my spelling skills aren’t what they used to be.

While the concept is thought to have originated in the United States, spelling bees are held around the world. The first winner of an official spelling bee was 11-year-old Frank Neuhauser, who won the First National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in 1925.

Orcas Island students competed last week in the all-school spelling bee for grades fourth through eighth. Congratulations to winner Tara Dobos, who also took home the title last year.

As one who has stood before my peers and parents to compete in the game of words, I commend these young scholars for their courage and acumen.

– Colleen Smith Armstrong

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