School/Grade Spelling Bee Champions
It took seven rounds, plus a championship round, but eventually Giles Platt, an eighth grader at Indian Trails Middle School, emerged the victor at the Flagler County Spelling Bee Thursday, February 8. His winning word was “vicarious.” The second runner-up was Joyce Holmes, an eighth grader from Imagine School, a charter school in Palm Coast.
Platt and Holmes were among the 17 elementary and middle school students from across Flagler County who participated in the competition. All of Flagler Schools elementary and middle schools were represented, as well as Imagine and Christ the King Lutheran School. Buddy Taylor Middle School played host for the event which was organized by Flagler Schools Teaching & Learning Department.
Jeff Reaves, director of Teaching & Learning, opened the spelling bee by welcoming the spellers and their families and friends in the audience. He thanked the school principals as well as the literacy teachers and coaches who support these students in their language arts education every day.
Teaching & Learning Specialist Celeste Ackerman stepped up as emcee introducing the spelling bee officials at the event.
This year's Pronouncer was Dr. Chris Stefancik, Flagler Schools’ Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability, who announced each word, provided a definition and said whether it was a homonym (patience vs. patients and complement vs. compliment). The judges were Teaching and Learning specialists Heidi Alves, Scott Reynolds, and Kristin Frank. The recordkeepers were Coordinator of Data Quality Louise Bossardet and Teaching and Learning Specialist Beth Harper.
The competition kicked off with a practice round in which the participants were able to warm up. That was followed by the first word, which went to BTES fifth grader Elevyn Thompson, which was “catnap.”
For the next hour, the competitors approached the lectern in a series of rounds until the winner correctly spelled the final word.
Just how difficult was the challenge for Platt?
“The toughest word for me, personally, was ‘injurious,’” he said after the competition was over. “I hadn’t heard it before. I just guessed based on the spelling of ‘injury.’”
The eighth grader said he found most of the words he had to tackle such as “version,” “acclaim,” and “skirmish,” to be fairly easy. He didn’t say how he prepared for the challenge, but pointed out that he felt pretty calm from the outset.
Each of the participants at the event were winners representing their grade and school. They were the champions of their spelling bees recently held at their respective campuses, and each of them received a certificate and a medal at the end of the evening.
Aside from the supportive families and friends who attended the event, Mitchell “Spence” Edelstein, who won the last two Flagler County spelling bees, attended with his mom. Prior to the start of this year’s competition, the now 10th grader from Flagler Palm Coast High School, offered sage advice to this participants.
“As you go through the rounds, you’ll become more comfortable with it,” he assured them. “It will become more of a fun challenge. Make sure you’re having fun because it will help you to spell better.”
He also urged the spellers to utilize the resources available to them during the bee, such as asking for pronunciations, definitions, as well as language of origin of the words they had to spell. The spelling vet, who aspires to be a dentist, also suggested they take their time during the competition.
“It’s important to think about the word and make sure you have it down before you say it, and take your time so you don’t mess up,” Edelstein said.
Newly crowned Flagler County Spelling Bee champ Platt now moves on to the 80th Annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee held in Jacksonville this spring.
The recording of the 2024 Spelling Bee can be viewed here.
Congratulations to all of the participants!
Elevyn Thompson, Belle Terre Elementary School, 5th grade
Julianna Durrance, Bunnell Elementary School, 5th grade
Ethan Po, Old Kings Elementary School, 5th grade
D’lanesha Downer, Rymfire Elementary School, 5th grade
Nathaniel Ross, Wadsworth Elementary School, 5th grade
Aubrey Forbes, Buddy Taylor Elementary School, 6th grade
Matthew Sherwood, Buddy Taylor Middle School, 7th grade
Isaac D’Elia, Buddy Taylor Middle School, 8th grade
Tina Lebedeva, Indian Trails Middle School, 6th grade
Tanner Lagocki, Indian Trails Middle School, 7th grade
Giles Platt, Indian Trails Middle School, 8th grade
Scottlyn Hansen, Christ the King Lutheran School, 5th grade
Naia Spitzfadden, Christ the King Lutheran School, 6th grade
Evren Kabir, Christ the King Lutheran School, 7th grade
Joshua Schottey, Christ the King Lutheran School, 8th grade
Rylee Robinson, Imagine School, 7th grade
Joyce Holmes, Imagine School, 8th grade