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A young Westmoreland student came out on top, in a metro spelling bee

RITA A. LEONARD - Llewellyn Elementary School fourth grader Claire Dolan won first place at the Regional Elementary Spelling Bee in Hillboro on April 28th. Llewellyn Elementary School fourth grader Claire Dolan, age 10, won a first place ribbon and certificate at the recent Regional Elementary Spelling Bee competition in Hillsboro.

The Westmoreland student competed with about thirty third to fifth graders at the April 28th event, which "was like a giant spelling test of about thirty-five words, instead of an oral Spelling Bee," she explained to THE BEE.

The contest was sponsored by the Oregon Association of Talented and Gifted Students. "The best part," she said with a mischievous smile, "Was that I got to skip part of school that day!" As a Regional Champion, Claire now goes on to the State Match, which will be held on September 2nd at the Oregon State Fair.

Impressively, Dolan didn't study for the contest. "I just read a lot," she confided. "I'm a real bookworm. My favorite topics are any type of fiction."

And, Claire's favorite part of school is Art. She also attends an after-school sewing class taught by the Llewellyn Librarian. When we asked if she was nervous about the competition, she revealed, "Only during the scoring process. We had to wait twenty or thirty minutes while they scored the tests. I was squeezing my water bottle as a sort of stress relief."

Claire's parents acknowledge that their daughter does read a lot. "Sometimes it's hard to get her to put her book down and come to the dinner table," remarked her Mom. "But it's really a great way to learn how to spell," Claire reflects.

"You just learn the proper spelling by reading the words over and over, and it gradually sinks in."

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