NEWFANE — The NewBrook Elementary School will move on to the state spelling bee competition on November 12 in Northfield.

"My heart was beating really fast," said Newbrook spelling bee team member, Hope Thibault, 12. "Either we won or we lost."

This past Halloween, five schools, with four member teams, competed in 12 rounds of spelling at the regional competition. According to the NewBrook spelling bee coach and sixth-grade teacher, Joyce VanPamelen, NewBrook was tied for first with the Academy School for 50 percent of the competition.

"We had a very stressful competition, and beat Academy School by two points," said VanPemelen.

VanPemelen noted the anxious look on the parents' faces in the audience. She also sensed the high intensity of the event as the children paced around the room during their first break.

Despite the high stress, the children encouraged one another during their breaks after the fourth and eighth rounds. They related to one another and tried to keep each others' spirits lifted.

The competition lasted about two hours and the scores at the end were NewBrook 122 points; Academy 120; Wallingford 112; Shaftsbury 102 and Manchester with 96.

Aside from the win, the school has supported the spellers and the competition greatly. "A lot of the 5th graders are taking it very seriously because they want to get on the team next year,"said VanPemelen.


NewBrook's team, which consists of four sixth-grade spellers – Hope Thibault, Sylvia Stark, Izzy Jarvis-Stores and James Jarvis-Stores, along with two fifth-grade alternates, Willa Redden and Annika Crego – will continue to study up until the state competition. VanPemelen says the students will practice by looking over the regular words, searching for bonus words and memorization of crucial spelling rules.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802- 254-2311, ext. 275