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Spelling bee era ends for one champion

Posted by: tdt -

By Robin Scott

Spelling correctly is nothing new for one area student who finished her last round in the spelling bee on March 6th.  As an eighth grade student, Lea Baumert has completed her spelling competition.  Baumert and several other area students competed at the 62nd Annual Regional Spelling Bee in Amarillo with hopes of making it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
The Regional Bee was held at the Branding Iron Theater at West Texas A & M University.  Along with Baumert, who competed as the Dallam County Champion from Dalhart Jr. High School, were the Hartley County Champion Rebecah Van Dijk from Hartley School and Sherman County Champion Krystal Hernandez from Texhoma Middle School.
The Junior Bee winners from the same Dallam, Hartley and Sherman Counties who did not participate in Regional Bee included Dallam County Junior Spelling Bee Champion Joseph “Miko” Belgira from St. Anthony’s School and Hartley County Junior Spelling Bee Champion Jonathon Joens from Hartley School.   Sherman County Junior and Senior Spelling Bee Champion was Krystal Hernandez from Texhoma Middle School.
The Globe News hosted a luncheon for the competitors before the bee began at 1:30 p.m.  Baumert’s spelling career included three years as the Dallam County Spelling Bee Champion.  She placed 11th in this year’s Regional Bee.  Last year she placed 5th, and noted, “I was to have an opportunity to go to the Nationals this year.”  
Baumert’s last year of competition is bitter sweet as she is excited to enter high school, but sad to see the competitions over.  She stated, “I am grateful for the opportunity to compete.”  Peter and Denise Baumert are Lea’s proud parents.  Her mother stated, “She has become a very good speller practicing for this and UIL spelling contests.”  Baumert misspelled “impasse,” after spelling what her mother called “some ridiculously hard words correctly.”
The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee, Akshay Raghuram from Potter County, also placed first last year.  He won in the 42nd round after spelling “compromise” correctly. His trip to Washington D.C. was successful, placing 17th in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Mrs. Baumert added, “We have high hopes for him this year and are rooting him on.”
The Dalhart Texan congratulates all of the students who participated in UIL competition and the Regional Spelling Bee.  Well done students!