Crestview’s Rice is county spelling champ

Brenden Rice (center) earned the title of Huntington County spelling champion on Monday, Feb. 3. With him are his parents, Paula and Kevin Rice.
Brenden Rice (center) earned the title of Huntington County spelling champion on Monday, Feb. 3. With him are his parents, Paula and Kevin Rice. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Brenden Rice really buckled down this year, and it paid off.

"I just made sure I got through all the words this time," Rice said Monday evening, Feb. 3, after earning the title of Huntington County spelling champion.

It was the third appearance in the county bee for Rice, an eighth-grader at Crestview Middle School. He competed at the county level both as a fifth-grader and a sixth-grader. In both of those years, he said, his studying didn't take him to the end of practice list of spelling words handed out in advance of the competition. This time, it did.

Rice correctly spelled the word "synonym" to win, getting his chance at the title after Alayna Broom, representing Lincoln Elementary School, stumbled on the word "igneous." This was Broom's first appearance in the county spelling bee.

Ten students competed for the county title, earning the right to be in the contest by winning spelling bees at their individual schools.

Rice, the son of Paula and Kevin Rice, of Roanoke, said he started studying for the Crestview spelling bee in November or December, working from a list of practice words handed out for the school contest. After earning the school title, he started working on a new list of practice words handed out about a month ago in preparation for the county spelling bee.

He got a lot of help from his mom, he says.

"We did it almost every morning before the bus came," Rice said. "Towards the end, we did it at night before we went to bed, too."

Rice will represent Huntington County in the regional spelling bee, to be held March 8 at Indiana-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. If he is unable to attend, Broom will take his place in the bee.

Other school champions competing in the county spelling bee were Merisa Walter, Andrews Elementary School; Keaton Kline, Flint Springs Elementary School; Samantha Ball, Huntington Catholic School; Makayla Ball, Lancaster Elementary School; Madeline Rubrake, Northwest Elementary School; Samantha Diehl, Riverview Middle School; Hanna Whitney, Roanoke Elementary School; and Kourtney Chaney, Salamonie Elementary School.

Jean Hayden was the pronouncer, with Kathy Rhodes, Ann Oden and Dan Rumple serving as judges. Terry Pierce was the bee coordinator.

The Huntington County spelling bee is sponsored annually by the Huntington Metro Kiwanis Club.