Thursday, February 29, 2024
Submitted Photo Byron Middle School student Abdul Alyafi, left, will advance to the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee on February 21. Alyafi, along with Chase Rolland and Claudia Zacher, represented Byron at the Southeast Minnesota Regional Spelling Bee on February 7.

‘Flabbergasted’: Byron spelling bee wizard’s fave word

Confiscated. Switcheroo. Proscribed. Mausoleum. Catastrophe. Scornfully.

These were among the words area middle school students had to spell while participating in a recent spelling bee. Two regional spelling bees were held on February 7 in Rochester, where 59 students participated. Students from 29 districts throughout southeast Minnesota had advanced to compete in the regional competitions coordinated by the Southeast Service Cooperative.

Now, advancing to the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee on February 21 are 12 students, including Abdul Alyafi, an 8th grader from Byron Middle School.

The 13-year-old reports that he spends about an hour a day practicing for the upcoming bee, and that his favorite word is flabbergasted. The toughest words he’s had to spell so far during his bee experience have been bureau, consomme, and maneuverable.

“It was impressive,” said Cali Salley, Byron Middle School spelling bee coordinator, of Alyafi’s and other students’ efforts at the February 7 regional spelling bee. “We progressed through quite a few words to get to our winner. It shows we’ve had some really strong spellers.”

“This is the first time that I’ve done spelling bee, so in about four years, when we’ve had someone move onto the final rounds for regions,” Salley said of Alyafi’s progression.

“With advancing to regionals, I feel proud of myself that I got this far,” Alyafi said. “And with competing in regionals, I feel optimistic that I will do great and I am excited for it.”

It all started with a Byron Middle School spelling bee on January 21, where 25 kids competed. Those 25 were narrowed down to the top three winners, and an alternate.

Along with Alyafi, Byron 7th grader Chase Rolland and eighth grader Claudia Zacher moved from their school spelling bee onto the first regional round on February 7 in Rochester.

Meanwhile, at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School, four students made it to the first regional round from their school spelling bee. The four who competed were 6th graders Ava Eineichner and Autumn Schultz, and 8th graders Adelyn Wohlenhaus and Eli Scrodin-Dejardin.

And at Triton Middle School, progressing from their school spelling bee onto regionals were 7th grader Averie Locke and 5th grader Rory Ginder, with 6th grader Kenzie Van Beek as runner up.

“The competition was intense,” said Tricia Himlie, spelling bee coordinator for Triton. “Averie and Rory put in their best effort during each advancing round. Unfortunately, they did not advance to the final regional bee on February 21, yet they should still be proud of their hard work.”



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