Forty students took the stage in the auditorium of Cane Bay High School to vie for the title of Berkeley County School District Spelling Bee champion and the chance to compete at the Spellbound regional spelling bee.
The rules of the spelling bee are simple, the students are given a word they may ask for alternate pronunciation, definition, origin, and for the word to be used in a sentence. When a student misspells a word they are eliminated from the competition and the final 14 will compete in the regional spelling bee.
The competition was fierce and the spellers brought their best to the competition.
After roughly two hours, the bee finally came down to LaRoche and Keil Dane Bongalonta, eighth-grader from Westview Middle.
Coming down to two students, the rules change a bit: students are required to spell two words correctly. In his last turn, LaRoche nailed “realtor” and then “fratority.”
LaRoche and Bongalonta are two out of the top 14 student spellers who will head to the regional spelling bee, Spellbound!, in March, with an opportunity to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
In the end one speller remained and Braeden LaRoche an eighth-grader from Daniel Island School.
“It feels pretty good, there definitely was some pressure with the audience and everyone, but it feels good in the end,” LaRoche said.
He said that he came into the competition hoping to do well and make it to the next round.
LaRoche said he prepared for the competition by studying the list and looking up any words that looked unfamiliar to him.
He also explained that he had a simple strategy for the competition.
“I think of the word in my head, hear it pronounced and spell it the best I can,” LaRoche explained.
The bee, which took place Jan. 23 at Cane Bay High, started off with 38 students from across the district. Students tackled words like “gladiatorial”, “disproportionate,” “diaphoresis”, “gratingly” and “balderdash.”