Greene County student wins regional spelling bee

Feb. 3—In the 10th round of competition, a seventh-grade student at Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School won The Daily Star Regional Spelling Bee, held Saturday, Feb. 3 at SUNY Oneonta.

The bee is a qualifying event for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Headed to the national event is Nyarah Garver, who spelled the word "laggard" correctly after runner up Brady Barnes, a seventh-grader at Afton Central School, misspelled "matinee" in Round 9.

Nyarah's championship word was "disaffected."

"It felt like there was more pressure," she said, as students left the stage one by one.

She said she was excited about going to the national competition, scheduled to be held in May in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of Washington, D.C.

She prepared for the competition by studying words lists and using Word Club, the Scripps Scripps National Spelling Bee app.

The app includes all 4,000 words on the 2024 School Spelling Bee Study List and official study guide Words of Champions.

Brady said that he relied on his vast vocabulary from reading a lot, mostly mythological fiction like the books of Rick Riordan, who is best known for writing the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

The competition began with 26 contestants, each a school champion. Two students did not attend the competition.

Each round saw competitors leave by misspelling a word. Students are allowed to ask questions about the word, such as definition, origin and part of speech, as well as ask the judges to use the word in a sentence.

This year's judges were Julia Suarez-Hayes and Frank Oliver, and Dr. Paul French served as pronouncer.

The first round eliminated three contestants. Rounds 2 and 3 eliminated six students each. The fourth round only eliminated one student.

Round 5 began with the top 10 contestants, but by the end three were eliminated.

The sixth round eliminated one student, the seventh round took out two, and the eighth round eliminated two.

Round 9 saw Nyarah and Brady face off. After Brady was eliminated, Nyarah spelled the championship word correctly in Round 10.

The competition is sponsored by The Daily Star, which pays for the entry of schools into the regional tournament and will pay for the regional champion's trip to the national competition, Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES and Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES.

ONC BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Catherine Huber and Daily Star General Manager Valerie Secor presented certificates and medals to the competitors.

Mary Dugan served as master of ceremony and Martha Ryan served as spelling bee coordinator.