• Last modified 418 days ago (Feb. 23, 2023)


Student’s spelling skills show no subsidence

Staff writer

Spell-check has nothing on Marion middle-schoolers Alexandra Carlson and Kayleigh Pacelli.

The two seventh graders took first and second place respectively at a countywide spelling bee for elementary and middle school students Feb. 15. They competed against students from Centre, Goessel, Hillsboro, and Peabody-Burns.

Alexandra won by spelling the word “subsidence” correctly.


It means the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land.

Kayleigh misspelled “tenets” as “tenants” to take second place.

Alexandra will represent Marion County at the state spelling bee March 25 at Newman University in Wichita. She has progressed to the countywide bee four times and has qualified for state three times — in third, fourth and fifth grades.

She went to the statewide competition in third grade. COVID-19 canceled the contest when she was in fourth grade. In fifth grade, the competition was online.

Both students practice regularly.

“For the school and county spelling bees, I have a list and write them down on paper or have my mom read them off to me,” Alexandra said.

She enjoys spelling, she said, because “I have a really good memory, and I can remember the words easily.”

“I also have a good memory, and spelling has always been easy for me,” Kayleigh said.

It can be nerve-wracking to be on stage at spelling bee, the two admitted.

“The nerves are one thing, or if your mind decides to go blank,” Alexandra said.

Sometimes the way words are pronounced or defined can trip them up.

Alexandra isn’t sure how she’ll do at state, but said “I think I will do better than when I was in third grade.”

Middle school principal Kelsey Metro is proud of both girls. Kayleigh will be available as an alternate if Alexandra can’t go.

“The fact that we have the two kids to represent Marion County for the state is so exciting,” she said.

Last modified Feb. 23, 2023