Sixteen students from across the state gathered in Hamilton Hall on Iowa State University’s campus on Saturday morning to participate in the 2016 Iowa Finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Room 169 was packed full of supporting friends, family and teachers. Each of the Spelling Bee participants were champions of their school-level bees and ranged in age from 6th to 8th grade. Students were given a list of words to study preceding the bee. The pronouncer, Samantha Robinson-Adams, lecturer in English, began with words from that list, and slowly moved on to more challenging words as fewer and fewer spellers stepped up to the podium.
All sixteen spellers amazed judges Annette Hacker, Director of the ISU News Service and Deb Gibson, Senior Lecturer and audience members with their poise and knowledge.
After the twelfth round, only two finalists remained. Zander Reed from Ames Area Home Schoolers and Fez Zafar from Bergman Academy in Clive competed through forty more rounds before Reed was crowed the Iowa champion. The Spelling Bee lasted an impressive 52 rounds!
This is Reed’s fourth year winning the Iowa Finals and his last year of eligibility for the Scripps Spelling Bee.
Reed will be moving on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held in Washington, D.C. The Greenlee School will sponsor his trip to Washington, where he will compete with other state champions.
Pictured from left to right: Spelling Bee Champion Zander Reed, runner-up Fez Zafar and third place finalist Karissa Burkhardt from Northwest Junior High School in Coralville.