2018-03-01 / Life in Leelanau

SPELL-BOUND FOR REGIONALS

Twins take two of six spots in county bee; winning word ‘annexation’


PROUD PARENTS Matt and Krista Cooper are all smiles on Feb. 21 after twin daughters Maia Cooper (left) and Olivia Cooper punched their tickets to the regional spelling bee. PROUD PARENTS Matt and Krista Cooper are all smiles on Feb. 21 after twin daughters Maia Cooper (left) and Olivia Cooper punched their tickets to the regional spelling bee. Maia Cooper for the second straight year landed a spot on the six-member contingent of county students advancing in the national Scripps Spelling Bee contest.

Only this time, she will also take the title of Leelanau County Spelling Bee champ with her.

Perhaps it was last year’s experience that guided her to the title in a dramatic two-person runoff to determine the top speller.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” said Maia, a seventh grade student at Glen Lake, after the competition held last Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the St. Mary gymnasium.

Maia was prepared due at least partially to the steady rounds of study she had with her twin sister, Olivia, who also finished in the top six.

Their mother, Krista Cooper, said it made sense that Maia finished on top. “She’s one minute older,” Krista said.


SIX SPELLERS earned a chance to represent Leelanau County in the regional spelling bee last Wednesday. They are pictured from left: Faith Fowler of Leland, an alternate; Sutton Leiter of Leland; Jenaya Thoreson of St. Mary; Malia Dickinson of Pathfinder; Olivia Cooper of Glen Lake; Maia Cooper of Glen Lake; and Alydia Floyd of Suttons Bay. SIX SPELLERS earned a chance to represent Leelanau County in the regional spelling bee last Wednesday. They are pictured from left: Faith Fowler of Leland, an alternate; Sutton Leiter of Leland; Jenaya Thoreson of St. Mary; Malia Dickinson of Pathfinder; Olivia Cooper of Glen Lake; Maia Cooper of Glen Lake; and Alydia Floyd of Suttons Bay. The outcome, however, was anything but certain when Maia and Suttons Bay student Alydia Floyd were locked in a spell-off that captivated the attention of a good-sized audience attending the county bee.

After two rounds the field of 30 spellers had been whittled to six — the exact number needed to fill the county field of spellers that would advance. Those students were the Cooper twins, Floyd, Malia Dickinson from Pathfinder, Sutton Leiter from Leland and Jenaya Thoreson from St. Mary. All are in seventh grade except for Dickinson and Thoreson.

A short spell-off was required to determine the alternate bee representative. Faith Fowler, a seventh grade student from Leland, spelled “conspicuous” for the opportunity to participate in the regional bee should one of the top six spellers be unable to attend.

Four of the six remaining spellers went down in the third round to the words of tempestuous, excruciation, treacherous and uncoquettish.

But Maia Cooper correctly spelled “disposition,” then Floyd stepped to the mike and handled “sphinx.”

Just two remained.

Cooper correctly spelled “disposition” while Floyd missed a word. Cooper followed with a correct spelling of “annexation” to claim the title.

Pronouncer Eric Carlson ran an efficient spelling bee with help from judges Bradley Chaplin, the librarian at the Bingham-Suttons Bay District Library; St. Mary mathematics teacher Nick Papes; and Amy Hubbell.

Carlson and Hubbell are journalists with the Leelanau Enterprise, which once again sponsored the county Spelling Bee.

Statistician was Geri Valentine, St. Mary School administrative assistant.

Teachers, parents and student advocates may challenge a judge’s decision; no challenges were made during the one-hour bee.

“I was probably just as nervous as the kids,” Hubbell said. “It’s funny because they look at you and you can see the machinations going through their heads. Some of them write the word on their hands. It was fun.”

The bee serves as more than a competition, Hubbell continued, putting an emphasis on what is becoming a lost skill.

“Although some people are lazy now and rely completely on spell check, you should know how to spell. So it’s important,” she said.

Megan Glynn, St. Mary principal, was the emcee, while teachers Tina VanderWulp and Anne Walter were registrars. Parent Corey VanderWulp set up and adjusted the sound system as needed.

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