Kate Evert, seventh-grader at Smoky Valley Middle School, did not necessarily contrive a plan before she won the McPherson County spelling bee Saturday.
She did not practice many spelling words, and her only rehearsal was competing for the honor of representing her grade at her school’s bee several days prior.
But this word would come into play as she stepped up to the podium and spelled “contrivance,” which means to plan with ingenuity, for the win in the fifth round Saturday.
“I was really nervous,” Evert said of coming into the bee. “I was worried I wouldn’t do good. I just told myself that I can do it and took some deep breaths.”
Seven McPherson County students participated in the competition. This included two from Marquette Elementary School, fifth-grader Abbie Hudson and sixth-grader Jonathon Hort; one from Eisenhower Elementary School, Lily Parker; and four from Smoky Valley Middle School, Evert, eighth-grader Katie Patterson, fifth-grader Cade Schneider and sixth-grader Rachel Weis.
Hort and Patterson were eliminated in the first round with words “intrinsic” and “subsistence,” respectively.
Four out of five students correctly spelled their words in the next round, with Weis misspelling “restaurant.” These four advanced through round three without a hitch.
Their confidence wouldn’t last long, however, as three participants stumbled on their words in round four. After Evert correctly spelled “stratification,” Hudson missed “sufficiently,” Parker missed “authoritative” and Schneider missed “transience.”
At this point, Evert would need to correctly spell another word in order to win. If she did not, the round would start over. “Contrivance” gave her the victory.
Evert said she reads about three to four books of varying genres a week, and attributes that to her spelling prowess.
She now qualifies for the state spelling bee, set for March at Fort Hays State University.
“I think it reflects on the quality of education she’s got from Smoky Valley,” said Smoky Valley Middle School principal John Denk. “I think it reflects on her as a student and her hard work. I think she’ll be an excellent representative for not only Smoky Valley in Lindsborg but McPherson County. She’s a very top-notch lady and will represent us very well.”
Event coordinator Kari Moddelmog said as opposed to competitions in their own schools, this bee works out some of the jitters that Evert could experience at the state spelling bee.
“There were some pretty good spellers,” she said of the event. “I was really proud of them.”