Local third-graders participate in Rotary spelling bee

More than two dozen local students participated in Southern Sussex Rotary’s Annual Spelling Bee at John M. Clayton Elementary School.

The spelling bee took place on Monday, Oct. 21, with 30 students from John M. Clayton, Lord Baltimore and Phillip C. Showell elementary schools, as well as the Southern Delaware School of the Arts. This was the fifth year that Brendan Crotty, Rotarian, organized the event, and many Rotarians, administrators, teachers, and volunteers helped make it possible.

Alissa Booth, JMC principal, wrote, “Congratulations to our 3rd Grade Rotary Spelling Bee champions. Brenda Pahren earned first place and Derrick Houston earned second place amongst students from four local elementary schools.” Pahren won by spelling “dictate,” while Houston went out on the words “infant” and “flung.”

Lord Baltimore Elementary School Principal Pamela Webb wrote to organizers, “Brendan — just wanted to thank our supportive community and Sussex Rotary for sponsoring this event for our third-grade students. Our students always amaze us each year with their perseverance and confidence to shine on the stage in front of such a large crowd. Congratulations to all of the participants — a job well done!”

Lord Baltimore student Rachel Martinez-Leal earned third place, going out on “minority,” while LB’s Sofie Dawson finished fourth, going out on “peddle,” and fellow LB student Kaitlyn Turak finished fifth, going out on “comma.”

Crotty served as emcee for the event, while speakers included state Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th) and IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele. Judges included Alexandra Fish, John M. Clayton third-grade teacher; Christine McCoy, a longtime Rotarian and past-president of Southern Sussex Rotary; and Kelly Kline, director of the Selbyville Public Library. The check-in coordinator was Jean Schmidt.

Sponsors provided prizes for the winners:

• First prize — Billy and Heather Reese from State Farm Insurance in Selbyville sponsored the first prize, a new bike.

• Second prize — a $100 gift card to Tidepool Toys & Games from owner Lori Smyth.

• Third prize — a Holiday Gift Box, including game, toys and more, from Yesterday’s Fun in Bethany Beach.

• Fourth prize — a gift basket including a $25 gift card to Comics & Games in Bethany Beach and two books.

• Fifth prize — a gift basket including a $25 gift certificate donated by an anonymous sponsor and a $10 gift card to Chick-Fill-A donated by Mountaire.

Mountaire donated many prizes, toy chickens and gift cards for the event, and will be featuring the winner and runner-up in the upcoming Selbyville Christmas Parade. Clayton Theater in Dagsboro donated many movie tickets. Crotty and KW Realty provided a word search. Toy Corner gift certificate was donated by Scott Smith of Edward Jones. Rita’s Ice in Bethany Beach donated a gift certificate and toy. Bonkey’s Ice Cream gave each student a $1 to $2 gift card in each bag. Custom Mechanical provided a maze, pen, football and coloring wheel, and donation of Jolly Roger tickets. Three Blond Bakers donated fudge.

In addition, Southern Sussex Rotary had backpacks made for each participant in the event.