Fifth-Grader Represents Lakota in Regional Spelling Bee

Fifth-Grader Represents Lakota in Regional Spelling Bee
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According to the National Spelling Bee, more than 11 million students will participate in this year’s contest, culminating in the national competition. Along the way, the pool of students quickly declines, with most eliminated at the local bee which is held at individual schools or the semifinals, which is a computer-based spelling and vocabulary test.

Those students who make it through the first two rounds advance to the regional level – which is exactly where Woodland fifth grade student Kadyn Schmidt will be this Saturday, March 12, representing Lakota Local Schools.

It’s unusual for students to qualify for the regional spelling bee, with only about 30% of those in the semifinals advancing - and especially as a fifth-grader competing against eighth-graders.

According to Woodland Principal Valerie Montgomery, “It has never happened since I have been at Woodland. I asked our reading specialist who has done the bee for years before I came and she doesn't recall it happening. I only remember one time since being an administrator that another building sending a student, so it’s a great recognition for Kadyn.”

Christina Butler, who has Kadyn for homeroom, Language Arts, and Tutorial and Enrichment, states, “I am so proud of Kadyn and this special opportunity for him to showcase his talent. Kadyn is an avid reader and truly enjoys writing. He is extremely interested in computer programming and wants to create video games for the future.”

Butler adds, “When I asked Kadyn why he thought that spelling was a major strength of his, he replied, ‘Well, I read and browse the internet a lot and I come in contact with many unfamiliar words. I also have a pretty intense vocabulary’.”

Kadyn’s interest in words isn’t new, as Stephanie Fulmer, gifted intervention specialist notes. “I have been working with Kadyn for the past three years. He was part of the WordMasters team that scored top in the nation when he was in third grade. He is a very in-depth learner and pays great attention to details. I am very proud of Kadyn’s accomplishments, and look forward to watching him in the regional spelling bee tomorrow!”

Kadyn relied on his love of words throughout the early levels of competition, admitting that he didn’t do any special preparations for the online semifinals. “But I am doing more for this stage and my mom is reading words so I can practice spelling them aloud. I’m concentrating on words with roots other than the Latin language since I’m not as familiar with the rules of those languages,” he explains.

His mother Lisa notes that Kadyn doesn’t seem nervous about the big competition. “He has performed in numerous piano recitals, so he is okay in front of an audience. He has always understood words, even at a very young age.”

In recognition of his accomplishment, Kadyn and his family have been invited to present at the March 14 Board of Education meeting, sharing his experience at the regional Spelling Bee. “I’m excited for the regionals and hope I do well, mainly since lots of people have been so supportive,” Kadyn states. “My teachers, parents and friends all have been wishing me good luck.”