JAS Successfully Hosts Spelling Bees at Boyet and Clearwood Jr. High Schools


Junior Auxiliary of Slidell (JAS) recently sponsored two spelling bees where 65 junior high students competed for an opportunity to advance to the Scripps Regional and National Spelling Bees.  This was the fifth year for the Boyet Junior High 7th & 8th graders, and the fourth year for Clearwood 5th-8th graders.

State Senator Sharon Hewitt was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the two Bees.  Senator Hewitt is a Life member of Junior Auxiliary of Slidell.  Returning as pronouncer for the Bees was WWL-TV Sports Director, Doug Mouton.

Boyet Jr. High (Principal – John Priola) had 26 students participate on November 14th.  The students completed 10 rounds and spelled 107 words.  Michael Bartels came through as the champion by spelling the winning word, xylorimba, and then the championship word, tamara.  An extra word must be spelled after the winning word to become the champion.  The other seven finalists were Travis Elmore, Hannah Joseph, Trey McGill, Julia Spiess, Wilson Hou, Annabelle Goggin and Christina Jackson.

Clearwood Jr. High (Principal – Alan Bennett) had 39 students compete on November 15th.  This group spelled through 25 rounds with 137 words completed.  Olivia Holmes spelled the winning word, defensiveness, and the championship word, cyclops, to be declared the Clearwood Spelling Bee Champion.  The other seven finalists were Sophia Weaver, Amelia Britt, Letrece McCoy, Amanda Krinsky, Brayden Bostick, Kaelyn Hardrick, and Keara Harbin. 

The overall school winner at each school was awarded a trophy, and all eight finalists received medals.  Students competing in the bee were selected based on their classroom pre-tests.  To prepare for this event, the JAS Spelling Bee committee met with the participants at each school hosting a kickoff party where they watched the movie, “Akeelah and the Bee” while enjoying some pizza.  This movie gives the students insight as to how to prepare for a bee and the commitment it takes to compete.  From there, the committee met with each school twice to practice spelling words for the bee.  Here the students were taught the rules of the bee, given study guides and had the opportunity to compete in a mock spelling bee to give them a feel for what the competition would be like.  The students were very nervous the day of the spelling bee but did a fabulous job!  They took all of what they learned and gave it their best.  Both faculty sponsors, Jennifer Crain (Boyet) and Chris Brewin (Clearwood), felt that the Spelling Bees presented a positive experience for the students.  Their spelling abilities sparked an interest in their vocabulary and etymology as well.

The event went very smoothly due to the combined efforts of JAS volunteers and school sponsors, Crain and Brewin, who helped get the bee organized.  A special thank you goes to pronouncer, Doug Mouton from WWL-TV, emcee, Senator Sharon Hewitt and judges, Sandra Chavers and Debra Mire.  Their dedication and enthusiasm for the Junior Auxiliary Spelling Bee program each year truly makes it enjoyable for all those who participate as well as the families and friends attending the bee.

What happens next:

The Boyet and Clearwood Spelling Bees were a preliminary local competition for Junior High Students, with the eight finalists from each school spelling their way to a spot in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee to be hosted in March 2018 at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Regional Bee is co-sponsored by the Times Picayune Newspaper and the LINKS Service Organization.

Prior to the Regional Bee, Junior Auxiliary project members will hold a parent informational meeting and practice sessions with the finalists from each school to prepare for the regional competition. 

The regional winner from Xavier and his/her parent will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee being held in May in Washington, D.C.  Last year was the 29th year of this regional competition, involving over 200 children from over 50 schools. Bee Week 2018 will take place the last week in May. The national competition will be televised on ESPN.

Boyet Champion: (L-R) JAS Vice-President Judy Heimbuck, Bee Committee Chair Cassie Baker, Champion Michael Bartels, JAS President Deb Jones.
Boyet Jr. High Spelling Bee Finalists: (L-R) Anabelle Goggin, Trey McGill, Julia Spiess, BJH Faculty Sponsor Jennifer Crain, Champion Michael Bartels, Wilson Hou, Travis Elmore, Hannah Joseph, Christina Jackson.
Boyet Champion w/ Spelling Bee Committee: Lisha Bonson, Colleen Courtenay, Yeon Ham, Champion Michael Bartels, Spelling Bee Chair Cassie Baker, Stephanie Miller, Amy Wiggins
Clearwood Champion: JA President Deb Jones, Champion Olivia Holmes, Bee Committee Chair Cassie Baker.
Clearwood Jr High Finalists: (L-R) Kneeling: Amelia Britt, Sophia Weaver, Kaelyn Hardrick
Standing (L-R) Clearwood faculty sponsor, Christopher Brewin, Letrece McCoy, Amanda Krinsky, Champion Olivia Holmes, Brayden Bostick, Keara Harbin, Bee Committee Chair Cassie Baker.
Back Row: Doug Mouton (WWL-TV sportscaster)
JA Spelling Bee Support Team: (Front row L-R) Bee Committee Chair Cassie Baker, Linda DeLaughter, Yeon Ham, Amy Wiggins, Colleen Courtenay, Christie Stubbs, Lisha Bonson. (Back row L-R) Judy Heimbuck, Stephanie Miller, Senator Sharon Hewitt, Pronouncer Doug Mouton, Judges Sandra Chavers & Debra Mire, Deb Jones, Becky Rampon.