In a word… ‘overwhelmed’

Sabetha Elementary fifth-grade student Sophie Shafer wins the PTO Spelling Bee. She and the other top six placers will compete in the Nemaha County Bee.
Sabetha Elementary fifth-grade student Sophie Shafer is the 2018 Sabetha PTO Spelling Bee Champion. She and the other top six spellers qualified to compete at the Nemaha County Spelling Bee on Saturday, January 20.

“Overwhelmed” is how Sophie Shafer says she felt after winning the 2018 Sabetha PTO Spelling Bee on Friday, Jan. 5. Shafer, along with the other 23 top spellers in grades fifth through eighth battled it out over seven rounds and 97 words.

Shafer was declared champion when she correctly spelled “barrette” after seventh-grade student Mary Lukert misspelled it. Shafer then correctly spelled “marmalade” for the win.

In the sixth round, third, fourth and fifth places were claimed back-to-back.

Penn Bachelor, a seventh-grade student, misspelled “atoll” to take third. Eighth-grade students Cameron Harrell and Chloe Menold took fourth and fifth after misspelling “grandiose” and “callous,” respectively.

Sixth-grade student Laura Edelman claimed sixth place when she misspelled “defensiveness” and her classmate Taylor Menold took seventh after missing “affirmation.”

“I misspelled the word ‘succotash’ in the state spelling bee 50 some years ago and have been seeking some sort of vicarious success ever since by volunteering to judge!” said Bill Simpson, who has volunteered to judge the event for many years. “I’m always impressed by the caliber of contestants every year,” he said.

“Sophie and the other participants seemed confident and impressed me with their knowledge, but I’m sure the pressure of performing well is great,” said veteran pronouncer Leslie Scoby. “The spelling bee is an event in their lives that builds character, and each one should feel proud of their performance.”

These students were the top spellers at the 2018 Sabetha PTO Spelling Bee held on Friday, January 5, at Sabetha Middle School. Pictured are (L-R) Sophie Shafer, first place; Mary Lukert, second place; Penn Bachelor, third place; Cameron Harrell, fourth place; Chloe Menold, fifth place; Laura Edelman, sixth place; and Taylor Menold, seventh place. These spellers will compete at the Nemaha County Spelling Bee on Saturday, January 20, in Seneca.

Sophie and the bee

Studying for the spelling bee was a family affair for Sophie.

“I knew most of the words online at,” Sophie said. “I studied a lot and bribed my little sister Sydney to study with me sometimes!”

Sophie’s older brother Jesse also helped her by competing against her at home.

“I won every time!” Shafer said.

Sophie did feel nervous before the bee started, but said it helped to have friendly faces sitting next to her.

“The spelling bee isn’t all about competition, but the excitement of learning new words and meeting new people,” she said.

Classroom Winners

Classroom winners qualifying for this year’s PTO Spelling Bee were:

Eighth grade: Tristan Wittwer, Travis Dalinghaus, Emily Krebs, Chloe Menold, Cameron Harrell and Matthew Whittaker. Alternates were Lindsey Meers and J.R. Streett.

Seventh grade: Mary Lukert, Noah Kroll, Carly Hartter, Kirsten Hartter, Matthew Garber and Penn Bachelor. Alternates were Braden Lawrence and Bryson Lay.

Sixth grade: Laura Edelman, Joshua Grimm, Taylor Menold, Brayden Meredith, Harper Schmelzle and Bayley Wasinger. Alternates were Mya Grimes and JJ McQueen.

Fifth grade: Sophie Shafer, Aubrey Schmelzle, Tabor Bachelor, Kora Lee, Brecken Edelman and Kelsey Herrmann. Alternates were Laura Goodman, Halley Mitchell and Laura Metzger.

Top classroom spellers for kindergarten through fourth grade were:

Fourth grade: Kenton Farwell, Ava Payne and Charlie Lukert.

Third grade: Cody Mitchell, Lincoln Menold and Jayce Rebant.

Second grade: Reed Toedman, Livie Strahm and Hadden Bachelor.

First grade: Emmett Kroll, Oliver Geyer and Sutton Davis.

Kindergarten: Gracie Scott, Jarrett Worthley and Eli Rebant.

Nemaha County Bee

The top seven spellers will compete at the Nemaha County Spelling Bee at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Nemaha County Courthouse in Seneca.

Pronouncer for the Sabetha School Bee was Leslie Scoby. Judges were Bill Simpson, Von Lauer and Marvin Kohlmeier. Sabetha PTO coordinated the event.

Sabetha PTO classroom winners in kindergarten through fifth grade are FRONT ROW (L-R) Emmett Kroll (first grade), Jarrett Worthley (kindergarten), Eli Rebant (kindergarten), Gracie Scott (kindergarten) and Lincoln Menold (third grade); MIDDLE ROW (L-R) Oliver Geyer (first grade), Jayce Rebant (third grade), Sutton Davis (first grade), Kenton Farwell (fourth grade), Livie Strahm (second grade), Reed Toedman (second grade) and Cody Mitchell (third grade); BACK ROW (L-R) Kelsey Herrmann (fifth grade), Brecken Edelman (fifth grade), Ava Payne (fourth grade), Aubrey Schmelzle (fifth grade), Sophie Shafer (fifth grade), Tabor Bachelor (fifth grade), Charlie Lukert (fourth grade) and Kora Lee (fifth grade). Not pictured is Hadden Bachelor (second grade). The fifth-grade students participated in the Spelling Bee held at Sabetha Middle School Friday afternoon, January 5.

Krista Wasinger66 Posts

Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.


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