'Macramé' earns student trip to D.C.

HELENA - Students from home schools stole the show at the Treasure State Spelling Bee in Helena on Saturday.

Of the 69 students beginning the contest at Capital High School, five were from home schools. After 14 rounds of competition, the three remaining finalists were from three of those home schools.

In the end, Jaclyn Rooney, a sixth-grader from Billings, correctly spelled "macramé" to earn an all-expense-paid trip next month to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

After the contest she said she had been preparing for the event since last fall. She was just one of more than 50,000 elementary and junior high students in Montana who participated in the classroom, school, city, and county competitions that led to Saturday's competition.

Several hundred people from around the state drove to Helena to watch the event. Among those in the audience was Elaine Cross of Philipsburg, who watched her granddaughter make it to the fourth round before tripping up on "docent." Thirty-two years ago, Cross was in Helena watching her son who also competed in the state spelling bee.

She explained words were just in the family's blood.

"I'm sesquipedalian," she explained. Then she explained that means she likes to use many-syllable words.

Along with earning a free trip to Washington, D.C., for himself and an escort, Rooney won a Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Corel WordPerfect Office 2000, a $100 U.S. Savings Bond and other prizes.

The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is May 28 to June 3.

How western Montana spellers fared

Shannon Thompson, a seventh-grader from Valley Christian School, finished fifth after misspelling "dicerous."

Anna Doyle, an eighth-grader from Missoula County Home Schools, finished in the 10th round after misspelling "bradyseism."

Brendan Work, a sixth-grader from Washington Middle School, finished in the seventh round after misspelling "exhilarated."

Adam O'Brien, a seventh-grader from Fred Moodry Middle School in Deer Lodge, finished in the second round after misspelling "mischief."

Christina Phillips, a seventh-grader from Florence-Carlton School, finished fourth after misspelling "erythropsia."

Greg Orme, an eighth-grader from Stevensvile Junior High, finished in the 10th round after misspelling "quadrille."

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