Spelling Bee 2020
Columbiana 8th grader spells ‘indemnity’ to take the win
Gill correctly spelled “indemnity,” which is the security against a loss, to take the championship, edging out Dorian Henthorn, an eighth grader from Beaver Local Schools. Henthorn had missed “unconscionable,” which means not right or reasonable in round 21 opening the way for Gill.
She will be the Columbiana County representative at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C., which begins on Memorial Day weekend.
Gill and Henthorn had spelled back and forth from the time the second runner up, Isaac Godfrey, an eighth grader from Salem City Schools missed the word “brethren” in the seventh round.
The night nearly ended in round 10 when Gill missed “heredity.”
“I started it with the wrong letter,” said Gill, who knew immediately when she began the word with an E, she had misspelled it. But then Henthorn missed “mammalian,” and the spelling bee continued for another 11 nerve-racking rounds before anyone missed again.
Some of the words Gill spelled correctly in those rounds included “settee,” “valorous,” “cinnamon” and “desultorily.” Henthorn countered by spelling a list of words that included “prodigious,” “cedar,” “chastise” and “edification.”
Throughout the spelling bee, Henthorn said he had tried to spell in his head each of the words being given to all the competitor spellers and sometimes he had missed them.
“I was pretty stressed,” Henthorn said after he and Gill spelling back and forth round after round.
Gill called it the “luck of the draw” when it came to knowing the words she was given. Gill said the word list had double the amount of the words she was given to study last year and it was harder because it was not organized by language.
Neither Gill nor Henthorn were new to the pressure of the Columbiana County Spelling Bee. Gill said last year when she placed ninth after missing the word “juggernaut.” Henthorn moved up two places this year after placing fourth in 2019.
Gill is the daughter of Jeff and Kathy Gill, while Henthorn is the son of Shawn and Julianne Henthorn.
The County Spelling Bee included a stoppage in after the second round, when an appeal was filed over the pronunciation of the word “wharf.” Dr. Matthew Stewart, an English professor at Kent State University, had pronounced the word one way, but the student, Caleb Spiker, a fifth grader at Salem, had pronounced the word another way and then spelled it as he had pronounced it, staring with an “H.”
Even with Spiker reinstated for the next round, round two proved to be the demise for many of the 42 spellers who began the event on the auditorium stage at Lisbon’s David Anderson High School. Five spellers exited in round one and 15 more were knocked from the competition in round two. An additional nine students missed words in round three.
The bee is organized by the Columbiana County Educational Service Center and sponsored annually by the three county newspapers — The Morning Journal, The Salem News and The Review. The Ohio Lottery pays the registrations for the winning participant, while the newspapers cover the local prizes and the trip to the bee for this year’s representative, Gill, and an adult chaperone. The two judges this year were Carol Cobbs, director of the Columbiana Public Library, and Melissa Percic, director of the Carnegie Public Library of East Liverpool. Brad Stephens, the director of the Salem Public Library served as the appeals judge, while Tracee Murphy, the director of the Wellsville Carnegie Public Library, served as the recorder.