Jayden Rettinger of Haines made it to the third round of the Alaska State Spelling Bee March 1. The event attracted 139 of the state’s top spellers and was held in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.
Rettinger, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, correctly spelled “coyote” and “precipice” before falling to “asthmatic” by leaving out the “th.” He finished approximately 37th.
Winner Bryce Tasso of Eagle River’s Eagle Academy Charter School spelled “geanticline” and “neuropathy” for the state title.
Mom Jessica Rettinger said the competition went all day. Savvy contestants asked questions before attempting to spell words, including a word’s language of origin, alternate pronunciation, and use in a sentence.
The seven-hour event was exhausting, but also helpful for picking up tips on studying effectively and improving for future bees, Jessica Rettinger said. Top spellers seemed to understand that knowing a word’s language of origin offered important clues to its spelling, she said.
Jayden, who is home-schooled, has won the Haines bee the past two years. If he continues his dominance of the local bee, he could compete another three years at the state competition.
Jessica Rettinger said trip highlights included a family visit to the Anchorage “Imaginarium” and a front-row view of the start of the Iditarod sled dog race, under the starting banner at Fourth Avenue and D Street.