Diane D’Arcy, left, was in charge of the spelling bee on Thursday afternoon. D’Arcy explains the rules to the students before they compete for their chance to represent Idyllwild School in the district spelling bee on Jan. 29. Photos by Jenny Kirchner

Students pitted their skills against each other in friendly competition at the Idyllwild School Spelling Bee on Thursday, Jan. 17. Participants were separated into two categories. Fourth and fifth graders were the first to compete, followed by sixth through eighth graders.

Though all students had worked very hard, only two students in each division could continue to the district-wide spelling bee, which will be held in Hemet at the district office on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Maggie McKimson, left, was the finalist and will be representing Idyllwild School grades 4-5 in the district spelling bee on Tuesday. Sophia Carver, right, is the runner-up. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Fifth grader Maggie McKimson came out on top in the elementary category. She successfully spelled “receptacle.” She and the runner-up, fourth-grade student Sophia Carver, will continue onto the district wide spelling bee.

The elementary competition was narrowed with words such as “eruption,” “dire” and “positive.”

Sixth-grader Dilyn Selkirk won the middle school division with the correct spelling of “evaluate.” He will also represent Idyllwild with runner up, eighth-grader Ben Cruz, who won a run off spelling “incredible.” In the middle school division “canteen,” “humility,” “calendar,” “recipient,” and “garment,” tripped up contestants.

Dilyn Selkirk, left, was the finalist and will be representing Idyllwild School grades 6-8 in the district spelling bee on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the district office. Ben Cruz, right, will be the runner-up in the big competition.

Diane D’Arcy, former teacher, was at the helm once again this year, leading a team of teachers and community members that made things run smoothly.

Each division began with a practice round that allowed students to become familiar with how the Bee would run before the actual competition started.

Local musician Barnaby Finch announced the words for students in a common spelling bee format. He read aloud a word, a creative sentence using it in context, then repeated the word. Students could ask for the sentence or word again, or they could request a definition before responding.

Grace Davis stands to recite a word during the grades 6-8 spelling bee on Thursday afternoon.

Participants responded by stating the word before spelling, to ensure they had heard correctly, then repeated the word to signify they had finished. Students had 60 seconds from when they first said the word to complete spelling it. At the 30-second mark, Christy Tilley provided a silent warning, letting participants know their time remaining. Head Judge Karen Smith announced whether or not the spelling was correct.