By the time it came down to the final three contestants, there was “balderdash,” there was “calibrate,” there was “plague” of course, because what hasn’t been so for the past year, and there were quite a few more words that challenged the competitors in this year’s county spelling bee at Buddy Taylor Middle School Tuesday evening.
When all was said and spelled), Indian Trails Middle School 7th grader Daniel Belkin was declared the winner, spelling the word “dramatization.” Cal Zwirn, a Bunnell Elementary 5th grader was runner-up, slipping up on the word “centipede” in the 16th round.
The spelling bee was held as usual at the Buddy Taylor/Wadsworth Elementary cafeteria, gathering two winners from each school–5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. A trip to the regional Spelling Bee in Jacksonville was on the line.
So on they went, scaling words such as “casualty,” “pauper,” “amphibian,” “condemn,” “consecrate” and “megahertz.” There was the occasional “nocturnal” something or other, naturally followed by “agitation” and “squalid,” for the morally indignant, before it came down to the final “vanguard,” “ethanol” and Cal’s fateful “centipede.” To win, Belkin didn’t just have to spell “dramatization,” but also “unkempt,” a word that’s tripped its share of spellers young and old going back to its origins in the middle English of the 16th century (even Shakespeare avoided the unwept word in all his plays and sonnets).
Daniel will represent Flagler County on March 29 as part of the 77th Annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee. Normally held in person in one of Florida’s larger cities, this year’s competition will virtual, with the spellers competing from their home schools.
Here’s a list of the 2020-2021 School Level Spelling Bee Winners from each school:
Bunnell Elementary: Caldwell Zwirn 5th Grade, Brianna Long 6th Grade.
Belle Terre Elementary, Tiago De Oliveira 5th Grade, Victoria Dalton 6th Grade.
Buddy Taylor Middle, Caleb Hart 7th Grade, Ethan Johnson 8th Grade (neither competed Tuesday evening.) Holly Kittrell was the 7th Grade runner-up (replacing Caleb Hart).
iFlagler, the virtual school that saw its enrollment approach 1,000 this year, Matthew Farlow 6th Grade, Shelby Brown 7th Grade (did not compete), Kasandra Baker 8th Grade.
Indian Trails Middle, Daniel Belkin 7th Grade, Kailee Smith 8th Grade.
Old Kings Elementary, Samuel Bowes 6th Grade, Alena Karanas 5th Grade.
Rymfire Elementary, Riley Bouchard 5th Grade, Muhammad Khawaja 6th Grade.
Wadsworth Elementary, Laila Niemann 5th Grade, Brian Martinez-Diaz 6th Grade.
Christ the King Lutheran, Nolan Jones 6th Grade, Kadis Schermerhorn 8th Grade.