Two De Soto spellers compete in county bee
Tommy Strauser knows county spelling bees can be difficult.
The Lexington Trails Middle School seventh-grader went to his second Johnson County bee Saturday at Gardner Edgerton High School and made it to the championship round before being eliminated.
During his final word in the preliminary round, the announcer had to repeat his word, "kevel," several times before he could understand it.
"It was a word I had seen before, but I couldn't hear what he was saying," Strauser said.
Starside Elementary School fourth-grader Nelson Reeves said he plans to qualify for the county spelling bee again next year.
Reeves said he practiced for his first county bee this year by spending a few minutes each night with his parents spelling words.
"Some kids here (at the bee) practiced for hours, but we didn't," said his father, Pat Reeves.
Both De Soto students were eliminated from their spelling rounds because they had trouble understanding what the announcer was saying. Strauser said that was common at spelling bees, which is why students should ask for a definition of the word and to use it in a sentence.
Reeves thought the announcer asked for "spent" when the word was actually "spinet."
Strauser said he was also eliminated because he didn't understand the word. He made it to fourth place at the Kaw Valley League Spelling bee in Tonganoxie last month, but said he also spelled-out because he didn't hear the word properly.
Spelling, however, comes naturally to both students at school.
"I remember words because every one is a part of another word," Strauser said. "You just put them together."
Students up to eighth grade had three preliminary rounds. About 45 spellers from across the county competed. The top five spellers from each preliminary qualified for the championship bee.
Aishwarya Pastapur from Morse Elementary School in Overland Park was eventually named the winner and will represent Johnson County in this month's Kansas spelling bee.