By Laura KreiderFebruary 6, 2020
VICENZA - Vicenza Middle School eighth-grader Brandon Easler became the winner of the 10th annual Vicenza Elementary/Middle School Spelling Bee Championship held in the VMS Multi-Purpose room Jan. 29.
Twenty contestants competed for top spelling honors, in the finals event. The first elimination round took place Jan. 14 determining the top 10 participants of each group who competed in the championship.
Carol McCoy acted as the official "word pronouncer." The official spelling bee judges were: Dr. Noni Hoag, Beth Potter, Craig Cotter; and Col. Jerry Layton. Parent Teacher Student Association Vicenza Representatives Lisa Bautista, Mariah Feeley and Barbara DuPree also worked alongside Spelling Bee sponsors Trina Downey, Teresa Taylor and Misty Leonard to make this year's competition a complete success.
All competitors made it through the first four rounds easily, but rounds five through seven were more challenging. Six spellers felt the sting and were eliminated by word challenges such as "sanitized," "vinyl," and "gingerbread."
Round eight created a stir after the spelling of the word, "proportionate." Finally, the judges ruled on the side of the speller and the round continued without other appeals. Most of the contestants, including elementary students, battled up to round 10 and were excited about competing with words such as "therapeutic," "derogatory" and "thermohaline."
The word battles continued until Round 11 when only three familiar spellers remained: eighth-grader Delia Gordon, who participated in last years' event; eighth-grader Brandon Easler, who placed third in 2019 Spelling Bee and fourth-grader Audrey Adair. Unfortunately, Adair misspelled the word "commodore" in round 12.
Competition increased when the last two spellers - who were also mindful of their experience from last year - competed for top honors by spelling more challenging words like "frangible," "prolusory," and "arugula."
After more than 180 words and 20 rounds, Easler edged out Gordon and became the 2020 VES/VMS Spelling Bee Champion by correctly spelling the last two words, "prefix" and "impel". He is eligible to represent Vicenza schools in the European PTSA Spelling Bee in Ramstein, Germany Feb. 29. Second place Gordon will be ready as the alternate in case Easler is not able to attend. Adair is also eligible to represent Vicenza if the other two spelling finalists are not able to attend.
The winner of the DoDDS European Regional Bee goes on to represent DoDDS-Europe in the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Vicenza Schools have a proud history of sending regional winners to the national bee in Washington, DC. For four consecutive years, 2011 to 2014, a Vicenza student competed in the spelling bee world series. Last year Asenath Wetzel came in third place at the DoDDS-Europe Regional Bee.