SV student takes third in regional spelling bee

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Merriam-Webster defines “nonage” as a period of youth. The time of Felicity Jenkins’s nonage could be described as a time of success.

Felicity competed in the regional spelling bee in Columbus over the weekend and received third place. In a competition covering 462 schools in 30 Ohio counties represented by 150 students, that is no small feat.

“I’m disappointed that I didn’t win, but I tried my best and that’s all I can do,” Felicity said. Nonage was the word that stumped her.

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Winning regional’s last year, Felicity said she put a lot of pressure on herself to win again this year for herself and not to let her supporters down.

Her supporters are more than happy with her success.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishment,” said Jeremy Newman, principal of Symmes Valley Elementary and Middle School. Newman said he was at the competition, along with Symmes Valley superintendent Jeff Saunders and Felicity’s sponsor and coach, middle school teacher Debbie Saunders, along with quite a bit of her family.

“It was outstanding the way she represented not just herself but the school and district,” Newman said. He said the tournament was very competitive.

“The organizer said it was the most competitive bee he has been a part of since he had been doing it,” Newman said. “It could have gone either way out of about five students.”

The competition began Saturday morning, where all 150 students were given a written test of 30 words. The top 39 were picked for the oral competition that afternoon.

Newman said out of all the athletic events he has been to, the spelling bee was where he felt the most stress as a supporter.

“They miss one letter and it’s over,” Newman said. He said after a couple of hours of the competition, some of the words were over his head. He was impressed with all of the students there.

“All of them are tremendous at what they do and you could tell they prepared quite a bit. It was just a matter of who missed the word first,” Newman said.

He said spelling bees teach more than just spelling.

“More-so than just the academic factor of learning how to spell lots and lots and lots of words, it teaches hard work, dedication and it encourages students to study. It also makes them work toward the goal that they want,” he said.

“That’s a lot of positive qualities that will serve them well in life.”

Hard work and dedication is something Felicity knows a lot about. Since August, she has been studying words for a minimum of an hour each day, and in December, she bumped it up to two or three hours, with sometimes as many as six hours on Saturdays.

She said she is going to take about a week off, and then will begin preparing for next year’s competition.