Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Andriesen captures spelling title


Fifth-grader Lydia Andriesen spelled her way to victory Wednesday at the Haines School Spelling Bee, but the 11-year-old was humble about her win with the word “disarray.”

Andriesen said she never had to guess on any of the words tossed her way by pronouncer Mark Fontenot, but admitted she didn’t know how to spell some of the words her competitors were forced to tackle.

“They were all really easy,” Andriesen said of her own words. “I got easier words than other people.”

Seventh-grader Tailer Olsson was runner-up, and fellow seventh-grader Elena Saunders took third.

In the first four rounds, Andriesen’s classmates stumbled over words including “olive” (“olve”), “podium” (“podioum”) and “moviegoer” (“movigoer”), leaving only five students standing in the fifth.

However, all four of Andriesen’s competitors were knocked out one after the other in the fifth round by “wren” (“renn”), “bassoon” (“basoon”), “carriage” (“carage”) and “cohesive” (“cohisive”).

Andriesen, Olsson and Saunders each said they didn’t really study for the competition even though they were provided with a list of 800 words to practice.

Mom Lisa Andriesen said her daughter is gifted with words and confirmed there really wasn’t much studying going on around the house prior to the bee. “She’s always been a really good speller. She takes a lot of pride in it.”

Andriesen is also an avid reader, currently working her way through “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan, a 2005 fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology.

Andriesen will attend the state championship in Anchorage Feb. 28. The Haines Borough school board on Tuesday agreed to contribute a maximum of $1,000 for the trip.

First, second and third-place winners won $25, $15 and $10, respectively.

The competition was judged by Sara Chapell and Margaret Friedenauer.