Carroll High School Spell Bowl Team
by: Isabelle Beezley
Carroll High School’s Spell Bowl team is a club that allows students to be involved in their school and expand their vocabularies, while gaining new friends along the way.
Spell Bowl student advisor and technology teacher Ashley Esther said the best thing about being on the team is the friendship between the students and the relationships they develop while working as a team.
“Since we travel to and from the meets together, we get to know each other really well,” Esther said. “The team gets along very well and is very supportive of one another.”
Spell Bowl is a spelling competition for high school students from all grade levels. There are usually three competitions in a season. A typical competition has ten rounds, with a different student competing in each round. Rounds consist of the student spelling nine words, and being scored by a proctor from another team. The student is then given 15 seconds to spell the word correctly on paper. Students earn one point for each word spelled correctly. Teams have the opportunity to earn up to 90 points at a given competition.
Esther said being on the Spell Bowl team offers important academic benefits for students that could help them now and into the future.
“An expanded vocabulary is a must,” Esther said. “Those who know how to pronounce, spell, and define an abundance of vocabulary words will do better on standardized tests and in entrance applications to college.”
Sophomore Hadley Gaff joined the Spell Bowl team this year after being referred by a friend. She said she has enjoyed her experience with the team and surprised at how fun the competitions were for her. She also appreciates the college benefits it gives her.
“It’s a really good thing to be a part of,” Gaff said, “and it looks great on a college application.”
Esther said students who wish to be on the team do not have to be excellent spellers already, and that any students can excel at Spell Bowl if they put in the dedication.
“We meet for an hour twice a week for the team but individual study time is needed outside of that to excel in the competitions,” Esther said. “Just as with any academic endeavor, the more time and effort put in, the better the results.”
Gaff admits that she was not being the sharpest speller in the beginning of the season, but agreed that practice makes perfect.
“However well you want to do, you have to put that amount of time into it,” Gaff said. “Just like anything else, if you want to do good you have to put some time into it.”
Esther said she is glad she chose to sponsor Spell Bowl and is planning to be student advisor next year, as well.
“I’ve come to enjoy the team spirit of the competition and… the study sessions preparing for each competition,” Esther said. “Plus, I’m a sucker for an expanded vocabulary.”
While the competition season has concluded for this year, students who are interested in joining the team next year will need to attend a call-out meeting and pick up a word list.