Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dunwoody Area resident Julia Denniss wins State Spelling Bee and is headed to D.C.

Julia Denniss

One hundred and nineteen words through six rounds. That’s how long it took 12-year-old Julia Denniss, a Dunwoody area resident from St. Jude the Apostle in Fulton County to best her 19 other competitors and go on to become the winner of the 48th Annual Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee held on March 20th at Georgia State University's Student Center. She will now represent Georgia in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships in Washington, D.C., May 24-30.

Late in the sixth round it was narrowed down to Julia and 14-year-old Sarah Landman from Bremen Middle School in Bremen City. Sarah went first and was given the word “erythromycin,” but she spelled it with an “a’ rather than an “e.” The word was then given to Julia who spelled it correctly and then, according the rules when it’s down to two contestants, was given a new word which must be spelled correctly. She received the word “concatenate,” which she enthusiastically spelled correctly to become the state’s new spelling champion. The sixth round proved to be the one that began weeding out the contestants with words such as olivaceous, breviloquent, pentapody, helioatry and fructiferous.

Julia tried to restrain her enthusiasm to no avail. “I’m just so excited and happy to be going to Washington [D.C.] for the nationals,” she said. She said she will continue to prepare the same way for the nationals and that includes her mom, a medical doctor, helping her with “medical words.” That help definitely came in handy this time around. Should Julia, for any reason, be unable to represent Georgia at the nationals, Sarah would take her place.

“I can’t say enough about what these young people have accomplished,” said GAE President Jeff Hubbard. “Everyone associated with their efforts should be very proud and on behalf of GAE I congratulate each and every one of them. And our thoughts and prayers are with Julia and her family as they travel to Washington to represent Georgia and hopefully bring back the national championship.”

In addition to her first place trophy and an all expense paid trip to the national championship and $400 (GAE), Julia also took home a dictionary (Merriam-Webster), an gift certificate (Scripps National Spelling Bee), a one-year online subscription (Encyclopaedia Britannica), and one $100 U.S. Savings Bond (Samuel L. Sugarman Award). Sarah, as runner-up, took home a second place trophy, $100 (GAE), a dictionary (Merriam-Webster), and a one-year online subscription (Encyclopaedia Britannica). All contestants received $25, a certificate of participation, and a GAE State Bee lapel pin.

1 comment:

John Heneghan said...

Congrats to Julia on the repeat.

The 49th Annual Georgia Statewide Spelling Bee sponsored by the Georgia Association of Educators took place March 19 in a hushed ballroom at Georgia State University. The room was filled with anixious parents, spelling bee judges, word pronouncers and twenty of the state’s top spellers who competed to move on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The students ranging in grades from 4th to 8th battled in a single elimination format through round after round. Some words they were asked to spell were seemingly easy like, decibel, or nullification others like protanopia or doxology, not so much.

The contest lasted over two and a half intense hours before Julia Denniss, 13, was crowned the state champ with the spelling of the word ‘conjunctivitis.’ “My winning word was not that difficult because I had studied it,” she said after the competition “but the word lixiviation earlier in the competition, I had not studied, that was the most difficult word for me but I just asked for the pronunciation and then sounded it out.”

Denniss was also the Georgia state champ last year. She goes to Marist School in Dunwoody and was rewarded $1475.00 and a trip to the national competition in Washington, D.C June 2-4, 2010, where the best speller in the country will be crowned. “There are a lot of words in the Websters Dictionary A – over 476,000,” her father Michael Denniss, who helps prep her every year, said. “She studied Greek, Latin, diseases, medical terms, and food. For example, you have to know all your different types of pasta.”