TROY — On Thursday, fifth grade students Alexandra Schieltz, 10, and Maxwell Erdahl, 11, battled through 30 rounds of words at the Troy City Schools city-wide Spelling Bee.
In the end, Schieltz spelled down Erdahl after he incorrectly spelled “installation” and she was able to seal the deal with the championship word “insignia.”
“My heart was racing the whole time I was up there, especially on the final words,” Schieltz said.
Schieltz, a fifth grader at Cookson Elementary School, appeared in her second city spelling bee. Schieltz’s first attempt was two years ago as a third grade student and can still recall being disqualified in the first round.
“What makes spelling fun is that you can’t write unless you can spell,” she said. “I love the freedom of letting words flow free on paper. You can’t just write a story, you got to spell it.”
Schieltz said spelling comes natural to her.
“Most my life I’ve been visualizing every word I hear in my head,” Schieltz said.
Schieltz said she prepared for the contest by going through the lists of words with the help of her mother Jenna.
“We’d mark off the words I got wrong and practice them,” she said.
Erdahl had a similar preparation strategy.
“I visualize the word in my head because I’m more of a visual learner so I picture the word in my head before I spell,” he said.
Erdahl represented Concord Elementary School for the second year in a row.
Erdahl had a chance to claim the championship after Schieltz misspelled “fallacy” in round 25, but he was unable to spell out “syllabus” so the pair traded words for another five rounds.
The pair shared their favorite subjects are math, but both enjoy reading. Schieltz enjoys “Ender’s Game” and Erdahl likes the Harry Potter series.
Schieltz is the daughter of Jenna Schieltz and Kyle Holzhauer. Erdahl is the son of Lisa and Kendall Erdahl.
The following students participated in the city-wide spelling bee: Sarah Zickafoose (Forest Elementary School), Justin Short (Heywood Elementary School), Jadelynn Dowty (Hook Elementary School), Jaden Bryant (Kyle Elementary School), Mitchell Sargent (Van Cleve Sixth Grade Building), Matthew Stamps (Troy Junior High School), Ella Mathews (Troy Christian Elementary School), Sadie Stout (Troy Christian Junior High School), Natalie Tremblay (St. Patrick School) and Maddalena Patton (Miami Montessori).
Serving as judges at the bee were retired Hook Elementary educator John Gibbons, retired Cookson educator Nancy Johnson, Beth Landfair of Troy Christian Elementary, Katy Miller of St. Patrick School and Andrea Weigand of Miami Montessori School.
Michael Rasey served as the spelling bee’s announcer, delivering words to each contestant with accompanying origin, definition, and usage in a sentence upon request.
The following words that ended the student’s chance at the championship included: shepherd, scoundrel, hazmat, abundance, calamitous, palladium, dawdle, abandon, prejudice, buffoonery, infatuation, jalapeno and installation.