Ball State PBS Spelling Bee set for March 13
UPDATED (12:26 PM MARCH 13, 2021): WE HAVE A WINNER!
MUNCIE – The Ball State PBS Spelling Bee will look different this year. And we’re not just talking about the new station name and Spelling Bee logo.
Ten top spellers from area schools are scheduled to compete in the sixth Ball State PBS Spelling Bee, set for 9 a.m. March 13, at Sursa Performance Hall, on the campus of Ball State University. The bee will be broadcast on Ball State PBS at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 20, and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 27.
Spellers competing Saturday at Sursa will be:
Sarah Glunt, 7th grade, Randolph Southern Junior Senior High School
Noemi Galan, 7th grade, Pope John Paul II Middle School
Aiden Mendenhall, 7th grade, Lee L Driver Middle School
Blake Kahlig, 8th grade, Jay County Junior Senior High School
Caleb Cunningham, 8th grade, Heritage Hall Christian Middle School
Alesya Rathinasamy, 8th grade, Burris Laboratory School
Aurora Thorpe, 4th grade, Royerton Elementary School
Shyenne Punzal, 5th grade, St. Mary’s Elementary School
Georgia Davis, 6th grade, Wes-Del Junior Senior High School
Avinash Kambham, 5th grade, Yorktown Elementary School
Those familiar with the bee know that the station usually has nearly 60 champion spellers competing on stage.
“Because of pandemic guidelines and our commitment to keep all of our spellers as safe as possible, we will be conducting an initial round online to narrow the field to 10 spellers for the in-person competition,” said Michelle Kinsey, Community Engagement and Grants Manager for Ball State PBS.
This year champion spellers from more than 45 schools from Delaware, Blackford, Jay, Randolph, Madison and Henry counties utilized an online testing platform, provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in that first round.
Last year’s second runner-up was Clark Wellman, a student at Bloomfield Elementary School. First runner-up was Georgia Davis, a student at Wes-Del Elementary School. And our champion, for the second year in a row, was Andrew Toney, a student at Lee L. Driver Middle School.
“Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scripps was unable to host the national bee and our winner, Andrew Toney, was unable to compete,” Kinsey said. “This year, they recognized the uncertainty surrounding this school year and have developed a way for us to continue offering the spelling bee program, no matter what pandemic safety measures are in place.”
If an in-person bee is not possible on March 13, Kinsey noted, other options are available including a bee via an online conference platform (such as Zoom) or the Scripps online testing platform. This decision will be made in accordance with Ball State and public health guidelines.
The winner of this final local bee will advance to compete in the national Scripps finals. Other prizes for spellers will include shirts, reference books, gift certificates and more.
Ball State University Teachers College has generously contributed the funds to cover the Scripps fees for all of the schools to participate.
Top Presenting Sponsor of the 2020 WIPB Spelling Bee is Family Vision Care. Other supporting sponsors include Boyce Systems, Avila Orthodontics, and Dr. Leland C. Wilhoite, DDS. Our Speller Shirts Sponsor is the Navient Community Fund and swag bags for our spellers are being provided by the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities. The Opening Word Sponsor will be Scott E. Trout, DDS, and the Champion Word Sponsor will be the Muncie Optimist Club.
In addition, WIPB has partnered with Motivate Our Minds for a Bee Great Spelling Club that meets weekly at the Muncie after-school enrichment center.
For the official rules, click here.
For more information about the WIPB Spelling Bee, contact Community Engagement and Grants Manager Michelle Kinsey at (765) 285-5887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.