Dell Rapids St Mary school sent three students to The Scripps Spelling Bee regional competition for the very first time on February 28th. The regional competition was held at Augustana College. The three students that participated were 4th-grader Gabe Nelson, 5th-grader Seth Roemen, and 6th-grader Ella Heinitz.
There were two parts to the regional competition. First approximately 45 contestants from grades four through eight were asked to write their responses to 50 pronounced words. 90% of the pronounced words came from the lists studied by participants before the competition. The remaining 10% of the words were of greater difficulty and were found from different sources. 22 contestants with the highest written scores continued to the second round, the oral spelling portion of the contest.
Heinitz was the 20th name announced to participate in the oral competition. Heinitz spelled the words guffaw, flambé, grandeur, harbinger, chintzy, domicile, tautology, and herbivore correctly through nine rounds. In the 10th round, she incorrectly spelled the word kitsch. However, Heinitz advanced far enough into the competition to finish in second place, qualifying her for the state competition which will be held at the University of South Dakota on March 21st.