Plains Schools sixth-grader Kaitlyn Ducept emerged as the repeat champion of the 2019 Sanders County Spelling Bee held Friday, March 1 at the Sanders County Courthouse.
There were 17 contestants in the competition, from grades 5 through 8. This was the 32nd year that the event was co-sponsored by the Sanders County Ledger and First Security Bank.
Ducept — the daughter of Darren and Cassic Ducept of Plains — is preparing to compete in the Treasure State Spelling Bee this Saturday, March 16 at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. First-round action begins at 9 a.m.
En route to the title, Kaitlyn spelled five words correctly — capped by the correct spelling of “carnivore.”
“She’s super excited,” said Cassie, who explained that contestants had a list of words to study before the county bee. “She works on definitions on words that she’s not sure of. She reads a lot. When she doesn’t understand the meaning of a word, she got the dictionary.”
WINNING THE competition as a sixth grader while competing against fifth- through eighth-graders was an accomplishment. “That was very impressive,” Cassie said.
According to her mom, Kaitlyn’s nerves did not get the best of her.
“She was nervous when she first came in. But when they started, you could see she had it locked down,” Cassie said. “We’re super proud of her.”
Last year at the state spelling bee — competing as a fifth grader against students through eighth grade — Cassie was eliminated in the 13th round. This year, she’s a year older and has an even better command of how words are spelled.
The top spellers from each state qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled for May 27-30 in National Harbor, Md.
ACCORDING TO the Ledger, it was a 13-round battle for the second- and third-place finishers in the county bee.
Ayleen Keefe, a fifth-grader from Hot Springs, finished second and Trout Creek sixth-grader David Flores was third.
Coming down to the climax, Keefe spelled a tough one, “acronym,” correctly and Flores misspelled “cadenza.” To claim second place, Keefe then was on the mark with “tortilla.”
First Security Bank provided gift certificates to the top three finishers with the award amounts of $100 to Ducept, $75 to Keefe and $50 to Flores. First- through third-place trophies were provided by the Ledger.
SANDERS COUNTY Spelling Bee contestants were, with their school and grade: Kalem Ercanbrack (5th), Decept (6th), Kassidy O’Keefe (7th) and Piper Bergstrom (8th) of Plains; Braxton Dorscher (7th), Trinity Riffle (7th) and James Schmidt (7th) of Thompson Falls; Madison Wormwood (5th), Flores (6th) and Nathan Levey (7th) of Trout Creek; and Adele Ranney (5th), Katie Porter (5th), Jayna Hale (6th) and Cahrlie Elverud (6th) of Dixon.
According to the Ledger, Dan Whittenburg of Thompson Falls served as the word pronouncer. Spelling judges were Joanne Burk of First Security Bank, Sara Czerwinski of the Ledger, and Karen Dwyer of Thompson Falls. Czerwinski was the county bee director.