GALION — Galion Middle School eighth grade students Craig Geiger, Cohen Pierce, and Jillian Capretta can spell so well that they will be representing Galion in the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center Tri-County Spelling Bee on Thursday, Feb. 18.
The competition will be held virtually because of the pandemic, limiting the Zoom call to only participants and coaches or school representatives.
Geiger won the Crawford/Morrow Counties Spelling Bee earlier this year. Earning the title of champion didn’t come easy for him.
“Cohen and I were in the finals, I misspelled the championship word and Cohen was back in for one more round,” Geiger said. “I got the championship word again and spelled it correctly and won the spelling bee.”
Competing in the spelling bee virtually had its challenges and positive aspects. Jillian has participated in the competition the past two years and found the virtual bee to be a little easier on the nerves.
“I was a lot more nervous when the spelling bees were in person because if you spelled a word wrong it was embarrassing,” Capretta said. “Doing it on Zoom was a lot easier because you could have your camera turned off, but it was also harder than in-person because of technical challenges.”
Students participated in the competition from the Galion Middle School library and computer lab. They were kept apart to help eliminate any unfair advantages and had specific rules to follow.
“They had very specific rules to keep people from cheating,” Pierce said. “You had to turn on your microphone and camera before they gave you the word to spell, and you had to maintain eye contact with the moderators.”
Students at Galion Intermediate and Galion Middle School began preparing for the competition with Jennifer Pennell, the district’s Talented and Gifted Coordinator, in October. Each grade level language arts teacher (grades 3-8) administered a spelling test to determine the top six grade-level spellers.
“Once the top 6 grade-level spellers were determined, I administered a 20-word written spelling test to determine the 6 students that would represent Galion at the County Bee,” Pennell said. “I also held a virtual practice session (I zoomed in from another location) with the spellers so that they could practice the protocols and experience a virtual bee prior to the actual county bee.”
Grayson Stacy (7th grade), Darion Salisbury (7th grade), and Stella Volz (6th grade) joined Geiger, Pierce, and Capretta as representatives for the Galion City Schools in the Crawford/Morrow Counties Spelling Bee.
“Congratulations to all the students who competed in this year’s county spelling bee competition,” Galion Superintendent Jennifer Allerding said. “I am proud of the extra time and effort these students put into preparing for this competition, and I would like to wish Craig, Cohen, and Jillian the best of luck at the Tri-County Spelling Bee.”