Fifth-grader wins WES spelling bee

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By Lisa Statham Posteraro

Finally! Fifth grader Molly Brisendine brought home the gold at the recent Williston Elementary School spelling bee (fifth grade only). "I really studied. My parents [Lynn and Garrett] and my sister Lindsay called out the words," said Molly, a student in Tracy Kirby's class. "Wholesome" and "sensation" were the two winning words for Molly, who had competed all three years at WES and tied for first last year as a fourth grader.

"This was my first time winning a spelling bee," said Shinell Silva, who also had competed in third and fourth grades and this year placed second. A student in Serena Barry's class, Shinell Silva is the daughter of Brian and Sharon Silva. "My brother [Shivanon] helped me study, too. And my grandpa."

Placing third was the perennial great speller himself, Branden Spillane, son of Patrick and Kimberly, who tied with Molly and Cammeron Smith last year. What stumped him this year? "Humiliate." (And hopefully he didn't feel humiliated when he missed it!) Like Molly and Shinell, Branden, also a student in Kirby's class, competed each year at WES.

Carol Glass and Dolores Gaitanis were the callers and judges for the annual competition which lasted 19 rounds. "There were a couple words which might've been unfamiliar to our students such as 'layette' and 'javelin'," said Glass, who coordinates the annual competition.

"Stooge" stumped Kadi Cline, a student in Jeanne DuBois's class. "But I made it to the top 10," said Kadi. In addition to Kirby, Barry and DuBois, the other fifth grade teachers include Ana Armbrister, Laurie Helgerud, Bruce Higgins, Melissa Lewis, Barb Rivers and Tonya Townsend.

Molly, Shinell and Branden received monetary awards from the GFWC Williston Junior Woman's Club. Molly also received a reference book set.

Molly will travel to the School Board office on Jan. 18 to represent WES in the county-wide spelling bee. Good luck, Molly!