By Zach Arbogast
An Oregon fifth grader took home the school spelling bee title Friday after 13 rounds of stiff competition.
Allie Patterson was crowned the 2018 Oregon Elementary Spelling Bee Champion after spelling opponent and bulletin back-to-back, after opponent and fellow fifth grader Ella Danhorn narrowly failed to spell practically.
“I feel really good!” said Patterson, coming right off of the win and being mobbed by friends. “I wasn’t even able to study every day, I could only do it when I had time!”
To her credit, Patterson said she loves to read, and that left her squarely covered for most of the words included in the study material.
Nothing should be taken from Danhorn, who kept right up with Patterson. Danhorn said she came into the competition feeling uneasy, but the support of loved ones helped her.
“I was really scared, and shaky, but my friends and family helped me,” said Danhorn.
In the final round, just after spelling opponent, OES Assistant Principal and announcer Ryan Huels erroneously announced Patterson as the winner before her second word.
Amidst an eruption of cheers, the news had to be broken that Patterson needed one more word, otherwise Danhorn would have another chance, but Patterson said the situation didn’t throw her off at all.
“I wasn’t really surprised by it,” Patterson said. “We went over the rules the days before, so I knew I had one more word. It was just funny.”
Melissa Gamlin, OES music director and organizer for the spelling bee, said she’s extremely proud of the participation from the kids.
“I’m really proud of them - I mean, how nerve-wracking to stand up there and do that in front of their peers and their parents?” she said. “They really came through and showed a lot of courage.”
Leading up to the bee, Gamlin started a spelling club in October, and it has shown fruits in the bee.
“We’ve had some kids participate int he spelling club since the beginning of October, and those kids were able to get some practice, tips, and tricks for preparing for this,” said Gamlin.
She said above all else, she wanted to work on getting the kids comfortable to spell in front of a crowd.
Results of the David L. Rahn Junior High Spelling Bee appear on page A8.