Ervin Gust recently saw some of the spelling words his daughter Audrey Gust had written down as part of her spelling bee study list.
“She has great penmanship,” Ervin said. “I looked at her and I said, ‘Well, if they judge it by penmanship, she’s got a good chance at winning.’”
It turns out she had a good chance of winning by spelling those words as well.
Eighth grade Greenbush-Middle River student Audrey Gust would compete in the Northwest Service Cooperative 2021 Region 1 and 2 Spelling Bee on February 3, 2021, held virtually this year due to the current pandemic. Competing against 14 other regional spelling bee participants, Audrey would finish in the top four at the bee to advance to the state spelling bee, to take place virtually on February 16.
Audrey talked about the feelings of advancing to the state bee, the way this year’s regional bee was run, and the success behind her spelling bee success. Her mother Mara also said a few words, as well as, via email, GMR Principal Sharon Schultz.
Competing in the GMR Spelling Bee for the past four years, Audrey advanced to the regional spelling for the second year in a row by virtue of winning the GMR Spelling Bee the last two years. The two years before that, she finished second, both times behind her older sister Elizabeth.
At last year’s regional bee, Audrey came up just a little short of advancing to the state bee. Out of 34 spellers at that year’s bee, Audrey advanced, along with 21 other spellers, from the written round to an oral round. There, she finished in the top 12.
This year, Audrey sat in an office in the GMR School Library to participate in the regional bee, competing via Zoom, an online meeting application. Regional bee spellers would compete right away in the oral round, not having a written round this year.
In the fifth round, Audrey would receive the word “Benedictine.”
“I knew how to spell it because I could sound it out pretty easy,” Audrey said. “I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew how to spell it.”
That’s all she needed to know, spelling the word correctly with, as she estimated, seven spellers left.
“I was just happy that I got it right,” Audrey said, “so that I was closer to going on.”
Audrey wouldn’t have to spell another word correctly. Several spellers were eliminated and she finished in the top four to advance to the state spelling bee.
“I was really excited and happy,” Audrey said about finishing in the top four.
“My goal was to get past the regions and go to state and I did,” Audrey said.
To see the complete story, read the February 10 issue of The Tribune in print or online.