Mills Lawn School
The 2013 Mills Lawn School Spelling Bee participants lined up for a group shot after the event. (Photos by Matt Minde)

The 2013 Mills Lawn School Spelling Bee participants lined up for a group shot after the event. (Photos by Matt Minde)

Mills Lawn School Spelling Bee full of apprehension, exhilaration

Mills Lawn School held its annual Spelling Bee Friday, Nov. 22, the first round in what will eventually be regional, state, then national spell-offs. Starting in the third grade, students hold classroom-level spelling bees in which a winner and an alternate get sent to the schoolwide competition.

The Bee starts in the gym, with the spellers seated in the front of two rows of chairs, facing their peers, who are sitting assembly style.

At each turn, a speller walks to the microphone, a word is read, perhaps with a clarification distinguishing it from its homophones, the speller repeats, then spells. If the word is incorrect, a bell sounds, and the speller moves to a seat in the back row and patiently waits out the contest.

Though the audience is respectfully quiet, they can barely contain their enthusiasm as the words get more difficult and the spellers get fewer in number. Everyone applauds after each round.

When one of the two remaining spellers finally makes a mistake, the other must still spell a word in order to win the Bee.

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