San Juan County kids compete in Skagit Valley Herald Bee in Mt. Vernon

Four San Juan County students competed along with 41 other top-notch spellers from Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties in the 34th regional spelling bee hosted by the Skagit Valley Herald.

Dylan Thompson, a seventh grader, represented Orcas Island Middle School, while Olivier Hall, a fifth grader, represented Lopez Elementary. From Friday Harbor came Beatrice Grawman-Boss, in fifth grade, and Emma Brand, in the eighth grade.

Dylan Thompson, the son of local Orcas physician Dr. Sarah Lyle, did well until he was tripped up by the Russian word, “borzoi” in the sixth round, leaving five remaining competitors.

Each of the 45 competing students had won a local bee in their home community to earn a place at the Herald’s regional bee, held at Bay View Elementary school in Mt. Vernon on March 13. The students battled through 20 rounds, spelling words like “pasteurize,” “hollandaise” and “aviator,” until the competition was eliminated and sixth grader Katie Arthur took home first place with “heron.”

Arthur, who has dreamed of winning a spelling bee since third grade, will receive an expenses-paid trip to the 83rd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., from May 23-28.

“I thought it was just a great experience,” said Lyle, who attended the bee. “It’d be fun for other kids to get excited to win it. It was a great atmosphere, with a respectful and quiet crowd.”