Gabe Tironi, Destin MS, Wins OCSD Spelling Bee

Destin Middle School sixth grade student, Gabe Tironi, won the Okaloosa County School District Spelling Bee held in early December by spelling the words “buffalo” and “beige” correctly.  He will go on to compete in the Big Bend Regional Spelling Bee in Tallahassee, Florida, on February 7th.  If Gabe does well there, he could be eligible to take place in the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee being held in May.

Joshua Schumacher, STEMM Academy, placed second and Alyssa Verzo, Pryor Middle School, placed third.

The purpose of the spelling bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. 

“It takes a lot of courage and determination for a student to enter and win a spelling bee,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.  “I am so proud of every student in Okaloosa County who competed in his or her school’s spelling bee.  To make it to the Okaloosa County Spelling Bee speaks volumes as to the quality and character of all the students here tonight.  Congratulations as you are all winners already!”

Spelling Bee Participants:

Bluewater ES –Charles Labee, Grace Hickory
Bob Sikes ES – Carsyn Brooks, Leigha Fickling
Bruner MS – Arshona Pender, Quinterra Nichols
Davidson MS – Cody Gray, Asheley Candelario
Destin ES – Nick Ford, Destiny Sisco
Destin MS – Gabe Tironi, Bethany Jowers
Edge ES – Dylan Boes, Claire Burke
Edwins ES – Cameron Byrne, Montana Saylor-Saravia
Elliott Point ES – Benny Churinov, Jaden Rader
Florosa ES – Caroline Mangrum, Michael Anthony
Kenwood ES – Elizabeth Sidley, Haley Rogers
Longwood ES – Jakayla Peterson, Derrick Young
Mary Esther ES – Jackalyn Powers, Alionna Chappell
Meigs MS – Ben Shannon, Donovan Walker
Northwood ES – Wesley Carson, Robert Sagaya
Plew ES – Jack Cathell, Glori Martinez
Pryor MS – Alyssa Verzo, Balyn Wright
Riverside ES – Gavin Davis, Ashley Cumberland
Ruckel MS – Simrun Sharma, Kayla Stephenson
Shalimar ES – Piper Austin, Ashley Bozeman
Shoal River MS – Lous DiRusso, Jaden Johnson
STEMM Academy – Ryan Matthew Werley, Joshua Schumacher
Walker ES – Griffin Tuttle, Jaiden Harris
Wright ES – Aidan Martinez-Jackson, Kaitlyn Denton

“I am proud of all the Spelling Bee participants,” said Marcus Chambers, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum. “You exemplify Okaloosa County’s vision of inspiring a lifelong passion for learning.  I applaud your academic fortitude and dedication.  You are truly an inspiration!”

Students can prepare for spelling bees using a variety of materials including,, programmed for superior word power and language fun and features;  Alpha-bot, the word-spelling robot hosting the latest amazing word game and challenges spellers of all ages; and Spell It! the Scripps National Spelling Bee study site for school spelling champions created in cooperation with Merriam-Webster.  Spell It! focuses on about 1150 words, divided into sections by language of origin.  Studying language of origin will enable you to learn and remember several important rules, tips, and guidelines for successfully spelling words in English—the most challenging language of all for spellers.

Click here to see the National Spelling Bee’s study tips.

Test your skills: 

At the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee, all 281 spellers took the Preliminaries Test.  That test contained 12 score spelling words, 12 score vocabulary questions, a Round Two vocabulary question and a Round Three vocabulary question for a total potential score of 30 points. Additionally, spellers who spelled correctly on stage during Rounds Two and Three of the Bee had an opportunity to earn an additional three points for each correct spelling.  Here's the catch: If a speller misspelled in either Round Two or Round Three, the speller was eliminated from the competition.  A total of 46 spellers qualified for the Semifinals by earning at least 28 points in the Preliminaries.  

Click here to try your hand at the actual 2014 Preliminaries Test and see if you could have qualified for the Semifinals.

The Pronouncer for the evening was Claudia Hesse, a teacher at Choctawhatchee High School and the judges were Joe Peterson, District Data Specialist; Ann Flanagan, Reading Specialist; Sandy Arteaga, Title I/X Specialist; and Shaun Ellis, Pastor at Beachside Community Church.

Special thanks to Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, the Okaloosa County School Board, Marcus Chambers, Sheila Lightbourne, Marti Gardner, the School Principals, School Spelling Bee Representatives, Okaloosa School District Print Shop, Linda Pinkert, Kelli Williams, Amber Floyd, Bay Area Awards, Niceville, Cracker Barrel, Crestview, Arby’s, Crestview, Chick-fil-A, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville Family Dentistry, Brodie Bowman Orthodontics, and Accent Signs.

Pictured above are (left to right): Joshua Schumacher, STEMM Academy, Gabe Tironi, Destin Middle School, Alyssa Verzo, Pryor Middle School, and Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.

Visit the OCSD Facebook page to see a complete photo gallery of this event.