The Southwest West Central Service Cooperative’s Regional Spelling Bee was held Feb. 5 at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Thirty-two students from 26 school districts, who won at their local level, came together to compete for the top four places that advance to the multi-region state spelling bee. Scores from the written and oral rounds were combined in order to determine the top 15 students who compete in the afternoon spelldown. Due to tied scores, there were 17 spellers who competed in the spelldown.

It was an exciting day with challenging words. After 16 rounds, the top four students who will advance to the multi-region state spelling bee were named. That competition is being held Feb. 19 in Fergus Falls. The winner from the state spelling bee will then go on to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.

The winners were: Jack Gunn, a sixth grader from Marshall Middle School, first place; Peighton Dandurand, sixth grader from Central Minnesota Christian School in Prinsburg, second place; Rachel Pixler, a sixth grader from Glencoe Silver Lake Lincoln Junior High, third place; Gavin Starr, an eighth grader from Lester Prairie Public School fourth place and Melody Filzen, an eighth grader from Renville County West, fifth place and first alternate.

Schools in the 18 county service areas were invited to participate in this academic enrichment activity sponsored by the service cooperative.

Among the others who competed was Mason Bawden, an eighth grader from Redwood Valley Middle School. Bawden finished in the top 10 at the regional spelling bee. His goal heading into the competition was to qualify for the final 15 spelldown following the written and initial oral rounds.

Having accomplished that, Bawden said he was pretty happy with how the day went.

Hannah Nystrom of Springfield and Shayna Huhnerkoch of Wabasso Public School also qualified for the final spelldown.

– Photo courtesy of Krista Daniels