Butler County Spelling Bee brings in 30 competitors, Dylan Vodicka takes first

Aquinas sixth grader Matthew Verbka takes second, David City Middle School seventh grader Dylan Vodicka captures first, and Aquinas eighth grader Nathan Johnson obtains third. Vodicka will proceed to the State Competition on March 12 at the Omaha Public School Teacher-Administration Building.

Nicole Buntgen, Co-Editor

Students from David City Public, Aquinas Catholic, and East Butler competed in the annual Butler County Spelling Bee on Jan. 31 at David City High School, with seventh grader Dylan Vodicka representing David City Middle School by coming out victorious in the competition.

Enrollment for the Bee started in early fall and ended in mid-January. In order to qualify, schools made up their own practices and policies in order to decide which students moved on to the Bee. Two students for every fifteen per grade level could advance, ADK Spelling Bee Committee Member Lisa Bales said.

Students who qualified for the Bee then took a 30-word writing test held in Mr. VanWinkle’s room. From there, the top ten students would advance into the Activities Center for the final oral portion of the Bee.

The Bee began with an introduction from Bales, welcoming everyone to the competition. Bales said due to students feeling nervous, finalists sat in chairs facing north and away from the audience toward Bales and fellow ADK members Barb Hedlund and Karen Papa, who volunteered to help at the competition.

Before beginning the Bee, students ran through a practice round by spelling their names to get a better feel for the process of the competition. From there, the contest commenced.

No students were eliminated after the first round of the tournament. Unfortunately, as word difficulty decreased, the number of students being dismissed increased.

“I think it went really well. I was really impressed, and I don’t recall a time where all ten finalists got their first words right the first round, so that was cool,” Bales said.

Winding down to the last two opponents, Vodicka and Aquinas sixth grader Matthew Verbka fought their way to the final round. After spelling the final word “mattress” correctly, Vodicka was named champion of the Bee.

“It feels good to win because Daulton, my older brother, won and now I can say I did, too,” Vodicka said. “I did maybe an hour of practicing from the list of words Mrs. Valentine gave to me. My parents would just name off words and I would spell them.”

Fellow Aquinas eighth grader Nathan Johnson followed Verbka in third.

Vodicka will advance to the State Contest on March 12 at the Omaha Public School Teacher-Administration Building.

“It’s [the Bee] a good educational opportunity. There are some kids that excel at this that may not excel at other things that often get recognized, such as sports,” Bales said. “I like the opportunity to recognize academic talents in this age group.”