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Pahrump’s super spellers display their smarts

The Floyd Elementary School Library was a scene of utter excitement and incredible pride as the best spellers from each of the valley’s four elementary schools stepped into the spotlight to showcase their skills during the Pahrump Valley 2020 Spelling Bee.

Hosted Monday, Feb. 10, the spelling bee included the top two spellers from each grade, kindergarten through fifth, from Manse, J.G. Johnson, Hafen and Floyd elementary schools.

At 9:30 a.m. that morning, the library was already filling with spelling bee attendees, with mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, siblings and friends all out to support their youngsters in the pursuit of academic achievement.

“Before we get started I want to thank a few people who helped make this spelling bee possible, ” Jessica Hargis, a fifth grade teacher at Floyd Elementary and key organizer for the event, told the crowd as everyone got settled in for the morning.

“First, I want to thank the principals from each of the elementary schools, Lori Metscher, Jeff Skelton, Debbie Carle and Laura Weir, for their support to keep the spelling bee going,” Hargis detailed. “Thank you to the school site spelling bee coordinators who dealt with my constant emails and coordinated their school spelling bees, Heather Boldra from Hafen, Michele Bolton from J.G. Johnson and Deanna Floyd from Manse. I also want to say a special thank you to my secretaries from here at Floyd Elementary, Teresa Veloz and Kathryn Gent, for always being willing to help me out with whatever I sent their way, and to Scot Troter and Cory Hansen for helping me set up both our school spelling bee and today’s town spelling bee.”

Hargis then turned to the large audience packed wall to wall in the library and continued, “And last but certainly not least, thank you to all the families who have supported all these kids, saying the words over and over, and who came here today to show them how proud we are of all of them.”

The three judges for the 2020 Spelling Bee included Rochelle Eiseman, Stacy Devoid and Michelle Beecher, each instructional coaches at local elementary schools. The students were divided into two separate competitions, one for kindergarten through second grade and another for third grade through fifth grade.

Following a standard set of spelling bee rules and a list of words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee organization, the judges presented the students with word after word for more than two hours of intense competition. It was an incredible display of intellect as the students spelled their hearts out, tackling all manner of nouns, verbs, adjectives and even some well-known trademarks. In fact, the students in the third through fifth grade competition proved so smart they cleared through the entire list of provided words, prompting the judges to turn to a dictionary to keep the contest going.

In the end, J.G. Johnson Elementary School second-grader Orion Deverse took home the top honors for the kindergarten through second grade competition while fellow second-grader Shayne Lende of Manse Elementary School claimed second place.

For the third grade through fifth grade competition, it was fifth-grader Caden Ayala of Manse Elementary who secured himself the championship title at the Pahrump Valley Spelling Bee and fifth-grader Kiana Reynolds of J.G. Johnson Elementary came in as the runner-up.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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