Spellers get set

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

Letters and syllables will be flying across the Clovis Community College stage this morning in the 2007 Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico Regional Spelling Bee.

Three dozen participants representing schools in Roosevelt, Quay and Curry counties, ranging in age from 8 to 14, will compete for a trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

“A child can fulfill their dream by spelling one word and going to Washington, D.C., and they’ll be representing (our area),” said Treasa Robertson with the Clovis Municipal Schools.

The Spurgeon family of Clovis is used to the spelling bee routine.

Seventh-grader Shannon Spurgeon will represent Marshall Junior High in Clovis after reaching the fourth round last year as a Barry Elementary sixth-grader. Her older brother, Samuel, was also active in spelling bees.

“We’re very excited and we’re very proud of her,” said Shannon’s mother, Karla Spurgeon. “I think it gives her confidence that she can excel at something.”

The 12-year-old also tries to keep her study time as casual as possible.

“She studies (her words) herself and looks them up in the dictionary,” her mother said. “And then my husband quizzes her in the evening.”

And whatever result Shannon earns, her dad knows that handling the success or failure will be a learning experience of its own.

“If she succeeds, then she needs to know how to handle that like a maturing young girl, but at the same time she can be ecstatic,” Michael Spurgeon said. “And if she doesn’t succeed, she needs to be able to handle that as well. We try to keep her feet on the ground, but also keep her head in the clouds.”

The competition starts at 9 a.m. at Clovis Community College.

“We’ve put lots of Kleenex (in there) because it is very emotional for the kids,” Robertson said. “When it gets this far, the kids are very excited and it’s really emotional for them when they miss one letter.”

Participants in today’s 2007 Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico Regional Spelling Bee at Clovis Community College:

• Andrew Anaya, Highland Elementary, sixth grade
• Louis Arguijo, La Casita Elementary, fifth grade
• Casey Cooper, Clovis Christian Elementary, fifth grade
• Patricia Gauna, Parkview Elementary, fourth grade
• Vianey Jaquez, Lockwood Elementary, sixth grade
• Agustine Jimenez, Sandia Elementary, fourth grade
• Nathan King, Ranchvale Elementary, sixth grade
• Hannah Kearney, Clovis Christian Junior High, eighth grade
• Alicia Martinez, Cameo Elementary, fifth grade
• Vincent Russell, Barry Elementary, sixth grade
• Cierra Pettit, James Bickley Elementary, fifth grade
• Courtney Post, Yucca Junior High, seventh grade
• Sydney Romero, Zia Elementary, fifth grade
• Shannon Spurgeon, Marshall Junior High, seventh grade
• Stephanie Stancell, Clovis Area Home Educators, sixth grade
• Jennifer Suan, Mesa Elementary School, fifth grade
• Chloe Williamson, Arts Academy at Bella Vista, sixth grade
• Christopher Salazar, Gattis Junior High, eighth grade

Des Moines
• Michael Quigley, Des Moines

• Katoma Mullins, Dora Elementary School, fifth grade
• Ace Nations, Dora Middle School, eighth grade

• Tyler Richardson, Floyd Elementary School, third grade
• Katrina Brunsen, Floyd Middle School

• Zachary Starbuck, Grady Elementary School, fifth grade
• Kortney Bone, Grady Middle School, sixth grade

• Alix Vigil, Logan, fourth grade

• Brian Hemminger, Melrose Elementary School, fifth grade
• Turner Ham, Melrose Junior High, seventh grade

• Christina Benitscheck, Home School Pact, Pep, fifth grade

• Hannah Christensen, Lindsey Elementary, sixth grade
• Shelby Neece, Faith Triumphant Christian
• Tara Markham, Portales Junior High, seventh grade
• DeAngelo Montoya, Valencia Elementary, fourth grade

• Jonah Walls, Texico Elementary School, fifth grade
• Jaylyn Cooper, Texico Middle School, seventh grade

• Austin Proctor, Tucumcari Middle School, eighth grade