Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 10, 2014

Students succeed at Mercer spelling bee

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — After multiple rounds of spelling words ranging from petroglyph to Herculean, three students were named as Mercer County’s new spelling champions.

One by one, students stepped up to the microphone at the Basic Science Building auditorium at Bluefield State College and tested their wits and memories to spell words that would make most people reach for a dictionary or try the Internet. When they spelled a word correctly, they resumed their seats. When they misspelled a word, they left the stage.

Eventually, there were only five contestants left on the stage. Words including illustrious, petroglyph, and anticipatory were read by Rebecca Broyles, the spelling bee’s pronouncer. Students sat down after they spelled a word correctly and others left the stage after hearing the bell. Finally, it came down to a pair of students taking their turns at the microphone until one of them misspelled a word.

Nisa Rana of Princeton Middle School became Mercer County’s new spelling bee champion by spelling the word lingua franca. After the competition, she was asked what the word meant.

“I have no idea,” she said with a smile.

Thursday’s contest was not Rana’s first time on the spelling bee stage.

“I’ve been here before. I think twice before,” Rana added. She prepares for spelling bees with a lot of hard work.

“It’s all practice. That’s it,” Rana stated.

Miranda Cales of Sun Valley Elementary School came in second place after spelling the word Pavlovian. She practices intensively for spelling bees, too.

“My mom reads it to me, usually,” Cales said.

Breanna Bailey of Glenwood School won third place after spelling the word anticipatory.

Rana and Cales will represent Mercer County in Charleston on March 22 during the regional spelling bee. Bailey will serve as an alternate if either Rana or Cales cannot attend.

“Congratulations to each of you,” said Superintendent Deborah Akers. “We wish you luck in Charleston when you go. That’s a very tough thing to do, to stand up on stage, and spell and keep your composure.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at