They don’t need spell check

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

NYSSA – Tips for spelling guided students last week at the inaugural Malheur County Spelling Bee.

The emphasis was on “i before e except after c.”

There were thoughts on a possible silent e at the end of the word and “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.”

Students from around the county gathered at Nyssa Elementary School for the competition last Wednesday.

Adorned with numbers hanging from their necks, each rose from a chair, walked to the microphone and awaited a word. After hearing the word from a judge and also listening to the word used in a sentence, each student started ever so carefully an attempt to spell the word. Any mistake, even if corrected, bumped the student out of the competition.

As one by one dropped off, only a champion for each grade was left standing.

These champions then met at 11 a.m. for a final “spell off. “As the words continued, only fifth-grade Nyssa student Katie Kuenzli was left standing and claimed the championship.

“My grandma helped me study really hard for today,” said Violet Gonzales, from St. Peter School in Ontario and the first-place finisher among first-grade students. “My toughest word is beginning. I keep forgetting the second “n” in the word.”

The choice of tough words while studying for the competition was different for each competitor.

“My toughest word was fuddy duddy,” said Justin Manees, a first-grade student at Harper Charter who finished third. “I am a big reader so I know lots of these words already.”

After placing second in the second-grade classification, Vale’s Rylee Murrey grabbed a refreshment with her mother.

“I studied every night for about one-half an hour with my mom,” said Murrey. “Sometimes, my brother helped me. I was really nervous coming here and doing this.”

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Contestants (Winners at their individual schools)

First Grade

Lilly Anderson Adrian

Sophia Andrews     Four Rivers

Jocelyn Arcadia      Nyssa

Layne Berrett  W.W. Jones    Second place

Laira Bigelow  Aiken

Charlie Bly     Jordan Valley

Tipton Eklund Willowcreek

Violet Gonzales      St. Peter  First place

Bryan Hernandez-Rosas Pioneer

Braelyn Keller Vale

Justin Manees Harper Charter       Third place


Second Grade

Kaylynn Brandon   Alameda  First place

Ethan Dotson  Willowcreek

Richard Joyce Harper Charter

Enrique Medina      Aiken

Rylee Murrey  Vale Second place

Claire Peterson       St. Peter

Mason Savage Nyssa

Payton Thomas      Four Rivers

Brooklyn Wheeler  Adrian     Third place

Alex Williams  Jordan Valley


Third Grade

Evan Alvarez  Pioneer

Keira Briner    Nyssa

Shane Cannizzaro   Harper Charter

Ethan Evers    Willowcreek

Fabian Fuentes       Aiken

Ashlyn Hung   St. Peter  Third place

Jacqueline Lopez    Cairo

Ariel Martinez Four Rivers     First place

Hazel McKrola       Vale Second place

Kadence Ragland    Alameda

Oliva Rushton Adrian


Fourth Grade

Emmett Bates Vale Third place

Karlie Bennett Aiken

Aluana Cameron     Adrian

Claire Collins  Jordan Valley

Lizzy Corona  St. Peter

Cadi Corn       Nyssa      Second place

Ellianna Guardiola  Pioneer

Brady Jacobs  Willowcreek

Kamrie Johnson     Harper Charter

Kyla Olivares  Alameda  First place

Georgie Rodriguez  Cairo

Brianna Thomas     Four Rivers


Fifth Grade

Adrian Castro-Vega Pioneer

Anne Charlotte Durbin   Aiken

Aydin Eddy    Willowcreek

Bea Hart St. Peter  Third place

Alyssa Hill      Alameda  Second place

Bode Johnsrud       Jordan Valley

Katie Kuenzli  Nyssa      First place

Alicana Lopez Four Rivers

Esmerlda Martinez  Cairo

Keegan Maupin      Vale

Hannah Nicholson  Harper Charter

Rylee Ready   Adrian