Harrison 8th-grader Dana Lerum (left) and Twin Bridges 6th-grader Allie Dale (right) were winner and runner-up, in the Madison County spelling bee on Monday, March 4. (R. Colyer)


Harrison’s Dana Lerum triumphs in county spelling bee

VIRGINIA CITY—After a weather delay that gave competitors a few extra days to study the word list, the Madison County spelling bee was held at the county administrative building in Virginia City on Monday, March 4.

Twenty-one students represented Alder, Harrison, Ennis, Sheridan and Twin Bridges at the bee, ranging in age from 4th to 8th grade. Superintendent of schools Pam Birkeland acted as master of ceremonies, while Leona Stredwick read and pronounced words and Megan Ellis, Marilyn Jenkins and Jody Sprout acted as judges.

After a reading of the rules and a practice round to ease some of the jitters, the bee began in earnest. Round one eliminated only four competitors, but as the words became more difficult the weeding-out accelerated. Eleven spellers were eliminated in round two, leaving only six advancing to the third round, which halved the field again and left only three heading into round four.

Harrison eighth grader Dana Lerum advanced, while sixth graders Allie Dale of Twin Bridges and Jacob Mann of Sheridan both misspelled their words.

But Lerum still had to spell one last championship word to claim the trophy, and it came in the form of “excise.” After asking Stredwick for the definition, Lerum breezed through the word to claim the title. 

Dale and Mann had a spell-off to determine the runner-up, and with “crochet,” Dale clinched the second-place spot.

With her victory, Dana Lerum earned the chance to represent Madison County at the state spelling bee, which will take place at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on March 16. In case Lerum cannot attend the state bee, Dale will take her place. Lerum also earned $50 donated by local sponsors, while Dale took home a $25 prize.

Winners of the state bee will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland in May. 

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