• Spelling Bee 2008-2009 
    Spelling Bee
    Spelling Bee
    Regional Spelling Bee
    Tuesday, February 17, 2009
    pdf Final Results
    Southeast Minnesota Spelling Bee Final
    March 3, 2009
    9:00 am


    This year we were pleased to welcome McNeilus Steel, Inc. and KM Telecom as co-sponsors. Their generous contributions enabled us to conduct a final Spelling Bee for our region (rather than the top four students advancing to the Multi-Regional Spelling Bee in St. Cloud). Therefore, the winner of our final advanced to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.


    CONGRATULATIONS to Laura Galbus, an 8th grader from Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools, who was declared the champion of the Southeast Minnesota Spelling Bee Final, after correctly spelling ensconce.
    Laura advances to the 82nd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 26-28, 2009. She won an all expenses paid trip (for herself and one adult) to Washington, DC (donated by Southeast Service Cooperative, McNeilus Steel, Inc. and KM Telecom). She also received a first place trophy, Websters Third New International Dictionary (provided by Scripps National Spelling Bee) and a $100 Series EE Savings Bond (donated by Jay Sugarman, Chairman and CEO of iStar Financial in honor of his father, Samuel Louis Sugarman).
    Melissa Brown, a 7th grader from Rochester Public Schools (John Adams Middle School), was the 2nd place winner. She received a trophy and a Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (courtesy of Merriam-Webster).
    Radhika Edpunganti, a 6th grader from LaCrescent-Hokah Public Schools, was the 3rd place winner. She received a trophy and a one-year subscription to Britannica Online Student Edition (donated by Encyclopedia Britannica).
    Seventy students from 41 schools throughout the region advanced from their respective District Spelling Bees to the Regional Spelling Bees. Twelve spellers (six from each Regional Spelling Bee on February 17, 2009) competed in the final Spelling Bee on Tuesday, March 3, at 9:00 a.m. at the Southeast Service Cooperative.
    Other students participating in the Southeast Minnesota Spelling Bee Final were:
    Rachel Cohrs, 7th grade, Rochester Public Schools
    Megan Klotz, 7th grade, Zumbrota-Mazeppa Public Schools
    Kyle Lewis, 6th grade, Owatonna Public Schools
    Alyssa Luebbe, 8th grade, Medford Public Schools
    Mark McGivern, 8th grade, Albert Lea Public Schools
    Josh Meyers, 8th grade, Pine Island Public Schools
    Casey Olson, 4th grade, Mabel-Canton Public Schools
    Emily Walsh, 8th grade, Rochester Catholic Schools
    Brendan Wilder, 8th grade, Rochester Public Schools
    Other awards included: two additional 1-year subscriptions to Encyclopedia Britannica Online (donated by Encyclopedia Britannica) and two Amazon.com gift certificates (donated by Scripps National Spelling Bee).
    Laura Galbus
    1st Place
    Melissa Brown
    2nd Place
    Radhika Edpunganti
    3rd Place
    The following article and photo are reprinted from the Rochester Post Bulletin.
    Mantorville speller reaches 3rd round in national spelling bee
    By Seth McLaughlin
    Post-Bulletin Rochester, MN
    Spelling Bee
    WASHINGTON, D.C. Laura Galbus needed one more "s" to correctly spell the word mousseline, but came up short Wednesday afternoon in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

    But even with a missed word, it didn't mean the immediate ouster of the 14-year-old from Mantorville. She and her family had to wait nearly 2 1/2 hours for the scores to be totaled and announced to learn that she wasn't among the 41 spellers selected for Thursday's semifinal round. None of Minnesota's five spellers made the cut.

    Laura's first visit to the national event was a strong showing.

    Her family Twittered on Wednesday night: "She was disappointed but realized words were tougher!"

    She started strong on Tuesday and continued her streak Wednesday before being tripped up in the third round on "mousseline," which is a fabric or a sauce used as a filling for cakes and pastries.

    Laura was taking nothing for granted as she entered the competition. On Tuesday night, she crammed, trying to burn any additional words into her memory in hopes of putting on her best performance.

    The approach paid off. Wednesday morning she strode to the microphone on the sprawling stage inside a ballroom of the lavish Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington and successfully spelled "initiate" under the competition's bright lights.

    "It was a little scary walking up there and thinking, 'This is the National Spelling Bee,'" she said afterward, standing alongside her parents, Holly and Andy, and excited 10-year-old sister Jessica. But when she was asked to spell "initiate," her fear fell away. While some of the other words might have given her some trouble, "initiate" was not one.

    Her parents also were relieved. "I just thought, 'Good, she can handle that one,'" Andy said. "Ma and Dad know how to spell that one, so she, for sure, can."

    One of 293

    Laura was one of five brainiacs from Minnesota and 293 students who descended on the nation's capital with dreams of becoming the last speller standing.

    Her family plans to watch the live competition on Thursday. The semifinals will be on ESPN and the finals in primetime Thursday night on ABC-TV.

    The competition kicked off Tuesday when Laura and her fellow competitors spelled 50 words in a written test. Following the exam, Laura said she felt "pretty good" about her performance.

    A scoring system was used to advance to the final rounds on Thursday. It uses scores from the written rounds as well as the oral rounds.

    Touring Washington

    For Laura, the experience was much more than words. Since arriving Saturday, she has taken in Washington's sights and sounds, sang karaoke at a barbecue thrown for the competitors, and mingled and exchanged contact information with kids from the United States and other countries.

    "It's so much fun, not just the site-seeing, but meeting the other families and seeing how much we are all different, but at the same time we all have so much in common," she said.

    Through all the hoopla and hurrying, Laura remained cool, calm, and collected. Her parents and little sister, on the other hand, were nervous.

    "You just sit there and look at that stage and you can't believe this is where you're at," Holly said. "We are very excited for her. She is very confident on stage."

    Andy agreed. "She is the calmer of the four of us, definitely."