Local children compete in spelling bee

Maura Mohesky made an important step toward competing in the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C., when she spelled the word wanderlust correctly Saturday at the Roosevelt County Spelling Bee.

Mohesky, a seventh-grader at Portales Junior High, won the senior division of the county spelling bee and will advance to state finals March 23 in Albuquerque. Mohesky said the contest was a little challenging but was a lot of fun.

CMI staff photo: Benna Sayyed

Roosevelt County Spelling Bee junior division champion Ashley Riccardi, middle, admires her first place plaque Saturday after her victory. On her left is her mother Kimberly. On her right is her father John.

"It's not everyday you see a spelling bee," said Mohesky, who plans to pursue a career in animation.

"It's just different from all those things in school that people think are so special. I'm so happy. Albuquerque here I come."

She said she likes to read fantasy and action literature.

There were six contestants in the junior division and seven contestants in the senior division of the spelling bee. Contestants came from Dora, Floyd, Valencia Elementary, Lindsey-Steiner Elementary and Portales Junior High School.

Ashley Riccardi, a fifth grader at Lindsey-Steiner Elementary,, won the junior division. She won with the word fiesta.

"It's kind of weird (winning the spelling bee)," said Riccardi, who wants to become a meteorologist. "I didn't expect it."

She said the words given in the contest were not difficult for her. Riccardi's favorite subject is reading. She likes to read Nancy Drew novels.

"I think being a good speller is good because when you're in high school you have to write a lot more," Riccardi said.

CMI staff photo: Benna Sayyed

Roosevelt County Spelling Bee senior division champion Maura Mohesky, middle, reviews plans to compete in state finals March 23 in Albuquerque with spelling bee coordinator Carol Erwin, left, and her mother Alicia.

"Knowing how to spell words can get you a better grade."

Spelling bee coordinator Carol Erwin said she appreciates the county spelling bee because it encourages academic rigor among grade school students.

"In Roosevelt County I like that it pulls together the small schools in the region like Dora and Floyd," said Erwin, "and they get to compete with some bigger schools.

"So it really gives us a chance as a region to get together and see how good the kids are competing."

Erwin said she was most impressed with the spellers' vocabulary. She said grade school level spelling bees are typically short and pointed out Saturday's spelling bee lasted longer than normal because the spellers knew the words.

"I was really impressed with their confidence level," Erwin said.

"Every kid really took their time with spelling the word, making sure they understood it. We didn't have any mumblers and those are all signs of confidence."

A sampling of words used at the spelling bee:

  • clementine
  • pumpernickel
  • expertise
  • postmortem
  • monotonous
  • synonym
  • constitutional
  • commodity
  • aria
  • pantheon

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