Caption: FHTMS 7th and 8th grade team spells their way to victory.

FHTMS Team Takes F-I-R-S-T in State Spelling Championship

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Thursday November 29, 2012

The Tuttle Middle School 7/8 Spelling Team has had an astonishing fall.  For the first time in many years, there were more than enough interested students to create an older team, which practiced twice a week with their coach, Edith Ainsley, alongside the 5/6 team. Juggling both groups concurrently proved a stretch, so Susan Sobczak–veteran spelling team parent extraordinaire–stepped up to assist with team practices. 
For this new, older group, part of the challenge was not just learning the published words, but developing a list of “bonus” words to master as well.  According to Ainsley, each correct word from the published list is worth two points, but after every round, the teams are also given an unknown word. Spelling these bonus words correctly is critical to the competition, as they earn double  points. Students gathered words from their reading, parents, and published online lists of 9th grade spelling words hoping that they had it right. It turns out they did!
On November 3rd,  they won the regional competition at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington, prevailing over four other teams.  On November 17th, they traveled to Northfield High School to face off against the other regional winners. From the start, Tuttle identified Manchester as the team to beat.  The two groups were locked in a dead heat throughout the competition. The team huddled after the first four rounds and together, developed their strategy about who would be seated and in what order. “They were amazingly focused, respectful of each other, and absent of ego–a true team effort,” said Ainsley. 
At the end of the twelfth round, Manchester and Tuttle were both tied and hanging on. After two playoff rounds, Tuttle roundly beat the Manchester team, spelling words such as, “reveille,” “inauspicious,” “querulous,” “obsolescence,” and “facsimile” correctly.
Team members include: Ryan Hockenbury, Liam Lerber, Nick Knudsen, Aleksa Sevigny-Morrissey,  Adam Sobczak, and Katherine Yang.   Ryan, Liam, and Adam are 7th graders, and are looking forward to another state championship next year!