By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Several Roosevelt County youngsters were filled with angst as they competed against each other in the first Roosevelt County youth spelling bee in several years Saturday morning at Eastern New Mexico University’s Becky Sharp Auditorium.
There is some irony in that the two winning words are contained in the first two paragraphs of this story.
Two home-schooled students took first place in their respective divisions.
It didn’t take very long for 9-year-old Louie Pollock to win the junior division, as four of the five spellers missed their first word. Pollock spelled the final missed word, and then spelled his second-round word, “angst” to win the junior division in the second round.
“When I spelled the last word I was relieved that it was a really easy one,” Pollock said. “It felt kind of freaky at first because there were quite a few other kids, and lots of people in the crowd so I was kind of nervous, but I felt like I was going to win.”
Pollock won a gift certificate to the Barnes and Nobles bookstore at ENMU.
“I’ve been practicing for about five days,” Pollock said. “I felt like I was going to do pretty good but I didn’t think I was going to win.”
“We’re just really proud of him because he really did study very hard for this,” Lisa Reichert, Louie’s mom said. “We didn’t really push him, we just had the papers all printed out for him and I think he realized that he has a knack for spelling so he really did a lot of the spelling on his own.”
Floyd Elementary fourth-grader Tyler Richerson took second place in the junior division.
Sixth-grader Katie Bickley took home first place in the senior division, and the $500 scholarship from ENMU that went along with it when she correctly spelled the word, “irony” after several rounds.
“I was really nervous throughout the whole thing,” Bickley said. “I was elated. I almost made it to regionals last year, so I’m really excited to be going this year.”
The regional spelling bee will be held on the campus of West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas and sponsored by the Amarillo Globe News.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Bickley said. “It would be a dream to go to nationals. I’ve never been to Washington D.C. before, but I’m really looking forward to going to Amarillo.”
Bickley also received a gift certificate to the Barnes and Noble bookstore at ENMU.
Portales Junior High School seventh-grader Hannah Christensen took second place in the senior division. Christensen was knocked out on the word, “Sayonara”.
“(That word) really scared me because Japanese was one of my harder ones (to learn),” Christensen said.
“My mom told me to really watch out for Katie Bickley because I know her from the library,” Christensen said. “She’s really smart and she’s a really good speller.”
As the junior division champion, Pollock participated in the senior division bee and placed fourth.
The region that Roosevelt County spellers participated in for the past 10 years (Roosevelt, Curry, Quay and Union Counties) didn’t have a sponsor this year, so Roosevelt County rejoined the West Texas region.
Betty Williamson has been the county bee director for several years and said it was the people who helped make this a successful event.
“We had people who were so happy to say, ‘yes’. Eastern was wonderful, they gave us everything we wanted and more. Every single person I asked to participate immediately said yes, so everyone was very supportive. That makes it easy,” Williamson said. “I was a little nervous at first, in the first go-round and we lost four (in the junior division) in the first round, but it went fine.”