Bills Advances to Regional Bee

Thomas Bills (left), Kaj Miller (center) and Ella Resor (right) display their certificates after the New Knoxville Spelling Bee.
Staff Writer

It took 11 rounds to decide but New Knoxville School has found its three best spellers. From a group of 89 participants, eighth-graders Thomas Bills and Kaj Miller as well as seventh-grader Ella Resor were named the top three Wednesday morning.

With words ranging in difficulty from hill and flail in the early rounds to progressively harder words such as electrolysis and diffidence, it didn't take long for the number of spellers to shrink. By the fourth round, eight students remained in the contest.

Students were given a list of words to study ahead of the bee but first-place finisher and regional spelling bee qualifier Bills said he prepared a different way than most.

"I just read a lot," he said.

Bills and Miller must have each practiced quite a bit, as it took three rounds between the two to decide first and second place. Miller was eliminated when he misspelled balustrades — a railing supported by balusters, especially an ornamental parapet on a balcony, bridge or terrace. Bills won on the next word, exordium, to advance to the regional bee in Lima in March.

Despite balustrades being the word that knocked him out, it wasn't the word he found hardest.

"Acclamation was pretty hard to spell but once I got going on it, it was OK," he said.