Sunday, May 20, 2018

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Scripps Spelling Bee

The crowd pours into the spelling bee

Photographer: Samantha Owens

Scripps Spelling Bee JerryMiller

Interim director of the Scripps College of Communication Jerry L. Miller announces spelling bee rules during the morning Regional Spelling Bee

Photographer: Samantha Owens

Scripps Spelling Bee Matt Pitcock

Matthew Pitcock of Maysville Middle School holds his trophy after being named the Southeastern Ohio Regional Spelling Bee champion

Photographer: Samantha Owens

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Spelling Bee competitors enjoy unique academic experience at University

The Ohio University Scripps College of Communication hosted the Ohio Scripps Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday for the second year in a row.

This year's batch of fifth to eighth graders hailed from 33 Ohio counties. Asked if the college could provide space for more participation, Scripps was able to accommodate 140 contestants and divided the spelling bee into two parts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

All contestants won their school's spelling bee and took an online qualification test for a spot in the regional contest. The champions from each spelling bee will go on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

Contestants were also able to attend one of the three "More Fun at OU" sessions put together by Scripps, allowing them to experience more of Ohio University. For many, this visit to the university was their first and gave them an opportunity to learn more about its excellent academic programs.

Those who participated in the morning bee had the chance to visit Alden Library, tour the Witmer laboratory or be interviewed at the WOUB News station in the afternoon. Those who participated in the afternoon bee also had a similar chance to go to these events in the morning.

At Alden, contestants were able to explore the history contained within the library's archives. They learned about Margaret Boyd, the University's first female graduate and on events such as the Civil War and World War II.

Students learned more about dinosaurs at Professor of Anatomy Larry Witmer's laboratory. Witmer gave his young audience a tour around the laboratory, explained his quest to discover more about dinosaurs and used the casts of dinosaur skulls to present facts about these creatures. He also answered many of the questions asked by inquisitive students.

For Witmer, dinosaurs are a great way to talk to people about more complicated scientific issues.

"We were talking about a lot hardcore science in [the session]," Witmer said. "We talked about different parts of the brain, heat exchange, physiology and why animals look the way they do."

Witmer hoped the kids see that science is actually fun. He said he had an enjoyable time.

"It was like looking into a mirror. I was those little kids, that nine-year-old who had a fascination for this," he said.

Clipped with a microphone and the camera pointed straight at them, other spelling bee contestants were interviewed at the WOUB News station. They were asked a series of questions by WOUB News managing editor Gabe Ross. The kids explained how they got their start in the spelling bee, what their interests were and what career they want when they are older. Footage from the interviews will later be compiled with the spelling bees.

Ross remarked that the greatest part of the session was seeing the kids' enthusiasm.

"It's really cool to see their excitement for education and learning in these interviews," Ross said.

Not only that, he hoped that the kids grasped a little bit of the concept of what goes on behind the scenes.

"I told them about what we do up here with the news casts and that kind of thing, the things that they don't really think about when they're watching TV because they're still at that age," Ross said.

Spelling bee coordinator Jerry Miller said that this was a great opportunity to host some of the brightest students in the region.

"It's fun to see all these kids come together, not knowing each other but then just within a few seconds, they're pals," Miller said.

Scripps Spelling Bee

The audience, filled with supporting family members, friends and teachers watches the Scripps College of Communication Regional Spelling Bee in Margaret M. Walter Hall.
Photo by Samantha Owens.

Scripps spelling bee

Doug McCabe, Curator of Manuscripts for the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, discusses how the Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers has been utilized in several publications about the period. Photo by Tyler Stabile.

Scripps Spelling Bee

Kyle Schroeder, a 14-year-old student from St. Brendon School, poses with a picture in front of his parents after being announced the Columbus Metro Regional Spelling Bee winner. Photo by Samantha Owens.

Scripps spelling bee

Spencer Brookes, an 8th grader from Bexley Middle School, Nina Greer, a 7th grader from Cornerstone Academy, William Gulker, an 8th grader from Gahanna Middle School - East, Alexander Bi, a 5th grader from Indian Springs Middle School, and Ryenne Rowan, a 7th grader from St. Anthony School, examine a 13th Century Bible that is housed in the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections in Alden Library. Photo by Tyler Stabile.

Scripps spelling bee
Ohio University Professor of Anatomy Lawrence M. Witmer, right, tells learning session participants about different types of dinosaurs. Photo by Samantha Owens.
Scripps spelling bee

Willam Gulker, an 8th grade student from Gahanna Middle School - East, views a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln along with newspaper clippings related to Lincoln's presidential election on the morning. Photo by Tyler Stabile.


Student spelling bee contestants were interviewed as part of their experience during the WOUB experience. Photo by Regina Truong.