Students conquer tough words at annual IMESD Spelling Contest

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Nine eastern Oregon students will have the opportunity to spell their way to a state title after winning their respective county divisions during the annual InterMountain Education Service District’s Spelling Contests May 7-8.

The contests were held for Umatilla and Morrow county students on May 7 at Blue Mountain Community College and May 8 at Cook Memorial Library in La Grande for Union County students. All of the participating students were crowned spelling contest champions at their respective schools, a requirement to compete in the county contest. First through 5th grade students competed in Division I; 6th-8th graders in Division II; and 9th-12th graders in Division III. The winner from each division is invited to the State Spelling Contest at the Oregon State Fair in Salem on Sept. 1.

Unlike a spelling bee, in which participants are asked to spell words out loud, the spelling contests require students to write the words down, as if taking a test.

The following is a list of division winners from each county:

Umatilla County
Division 1: 1st place – Isaac Cano, Washington Elementary (Pendleton); 2nd place – Taylor Greene, Rocky Heights Elementary (Hermiston); 3rd place – Megan Wright, West Park Elementary (Hermiston)

Division 2: 1st place – Josiah Niederwerfer, Sandstone Middle School (Hermiston); 2nd place – Tucker Wilson, Helix School; 3rd place – Henry Gehrke, Echo Jr.-Sr. High School

Division 3: 1st place – Cailey Hughes, Hermiston High School; 2nd place – Andrew Burcham, Home School; 3rd place – Catherine Reitz, Weston-McEwen High School (Athena)

Morrow County
Division 1: 1st place – Olivia Schmidt, Heppner Elementary; 2nd place – Jared Miller, Windy River Elementary (Boardman); 3rd place – Jillian Rudolph, Ione Community School

Division 2: 1st place – Ryan Ibarra, Riverside Jr.-Sr. High School (Boardman); 2nd place – Olivia Dominguez, Irrigon Jr.-Sr. High School; 3rd place – Demi Schmidt, Heppner Jr.-Sr. High School
Division 3: 1st place – Ky-Leigh Nelson, Riverside High School (Boardman); 2nd place – Kaitlynn Linnell, Irrigon Jr.-Sr. High School; 3rd place – Tanner Bass, Ione Community School

Union County
Division 1: 1st place – Devin Colwell, Imbler Elementary; 2nd place – Kristen Jones, Greenwood Elementary (La Grande); 3rd place – Elizabeth Babcock, Island City Elementary

Division 2: 1st place – Toby Aldape, La Grande Middle School; 2nd place – Hunter Lannon, Imbler Jr.-Sr. High School; 3rd place – William Mattson, Stella Mayfield Elementary (Elgin)

Division 3: 1st place – Ian McLean, Imbler High School; No other participants for 2nd & 3rd place