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Representatives from elementary and middle schools will take the stage Saturday in Portland

Lake Oswego elementary and middle school students will participate in the Pamplin Media Group's Regional Spelling Bee March 9 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland. One student from each school will compete against roughly 50 other students to determine who Oregon's top speller is.

Entering its 17th year, the Pamplin Media Group's Regional Spelling Bee began in 2002 to give Portland-area students an opportunity to compete on a national level.

Each year, the Pamplin Media Group Regional Spelling Bee invites fourth through eighth grade students attending Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill and Clackamas county public, private, alternative and home school groups to compete in the regional spelling bee. Students advance to the regional bee after winning their individual school bees.

The following Lake Oswego students won their school's bees: Alana Penoyer, an eighth grader at Lake Oswego Junior High; Justin Rim, a sixth grader at Lakeridge Junior High who won fourth place at regionals in 2018; Alyssa Baek, a fifth grader at Forest Hills Elementary; Autumn Bohrer-Clancy, a fifth grader at Hallinan Elementary; Alexis Zou, a fifth grader at Lake Grove Elementary; Ellie Wang, a fifth grader at River Grove Elementary; and Ashley Park, a fifth grader at Westridge Elementary.

Hallinan fifth grader Autumn Bohrer-Clancy says competing in the school's spelling bee led to a variety of emotions. "I like that I get to learn more words and that (competing) strengthens my vocabulary. It was fun because me and my friends were joking and having a great time," says Bohrer-Clancy. "But I was really happy and relieved when it was over because I was quite stressed."

When it comes to spelling, practice makes perfect, she says.

"Yes, I prepare every day with the words on the list. I wrote them down to memorize them, then I gave the sheet to my mom and she read the words and I spelled them out. She had a pen to correct me and those were the words I needed to work on," says Bohrer-Clancy. "I felt really nervous but thought I could do it because I practiced a lot."

Bohrer-Clancy's winning word was "salutation," but she doesn't only practice spelling English words. She says there are a lot of different languages she practices, including Arabic, Old English, New World Languages and Spanish.

Oak Creek fifth grader Isabel Pancoast says she is preparing for the regional spelling bee by reading as much as she can and having friends quiz her on practice words. The word that got her to regionals was "beneath."

"I like how there is a sense of friendly competition, and I just enjoy spelling," says Pancoast. She says it feels exhilarating to be the top speller at the school because out of about 200 people, she is the one who will represent the school.

The winner of the Pamplin Media Group Regional Spelling Bee will advance with more than 250 students from around the country and the world to compete at the national bee.

To compete in the national bee, most students are sponsored by local newspapers. Along with competing in the bee, the winning student will have the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C., and participate in organized social events with other spellers.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee was started by the Louisville-Courier-Journal in 1925 with nine sponsoring newspapers and nine contestants. It was first made famous by the movies "Spellbound" and "Akeelah and the Bee". Now ESPN airs it live and network TV airs the final rounds live, which has greatly increased community awareness of the event.

Pamplin Media Group's Regional Spelling Bee will take place Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hollywood Theater, located at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212. For more information, click here .


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