Idaho students prepare for Scripps Regional Spelling Bee

Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 13:19:27-04

A big stage, bright lights ... and complex words. 

Twenty-seven students from around southwest Idaho will compete in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee Saturday, March 17 at Boise State University's Simplot Ballroom in the Student Union Building.

“They’re all spelling at home and they’re going through a list of 1,000 words, some of which will be on the list that we’ll be using Saturday, so we are just in awe of all the time and preparation these kids and their parents spend getting ready to come here,” said Cece Gassner, Director of Economic Development at Boise State University.

The top three spellers will win medals designed and created by students in Boise State’s Product Development Lab.

“This is all about the kids and the medal,” said Blaise Lawless, New Product Development Specialist at BSU. “…I think it might’ve been Cece’s idea to use this modern technology to create something that looked traditional, like it’s a bronze or silver medal.”

Competitors between the ages of 8 and 13 are no doubt practicing for the big day, where their knowledge of phonetics, word origin and spelling will be on full display.

“It’s so delightful to see these kids who have worked to hard to get to where they are, get up in front of a bunch of people and come up with a spelling of words,” said Tim Thornes, pronouncer for the competition. “…many of the words they’ve never heard before, either.”

The winner of this regional competition goes on to compete in the national finals in Washington D.C. in May, with the chance to win a $40,000 scholarship.