PUBLISHED: 4:39 PM on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Letter by letter
Juneau students compete in district spelling bee

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  Colton Welsh, left, of Floyd Dryden Middle School, congratulates spelling bee champion Brayden Wrightson.
Fifteen students of the Juneau School District on Wednesday, Jan. 10, stepped up to the podium - p-o-d-i-u-m, podium - to see who could out spell the other.

While some of the words were "pragmatic," others breezed through the competition such as "appetite," "diminish," "mildew" and "peninsula."

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  Holly Rose of Mendenhall RIver Community School gives a look of frustration as she realizes her spelling error of the word "protein."
With more than 15 rounds of competition, the spelling bee came down between Colton Welsh of Floyd Dryden Middle School and Brayden Wrightson of Harborview Elementary School. Wrightson won the competition after correctly spelling "colossal."

"I was pretty nervous, but after he got quarantine wrong, I knew I had a chance to win," Wrightson said. "When they said 'colossal' I knew it right away."

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  Olivia VanKirk of Glacier Valley Elementary School carefully considers each word during her turn at the annual Juneau School District spelling bee, which was held Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Riverbend Elementary School.
Wrightson, a fourth-grader, said he was in the district bee last year, but was out after the first round. He said his strategy was different this year.

"Last year I practiced all of the time, like every day," Wrightson said. "I maybe studied for five minutes all year this time." The 10-year-old said he is naturally good at spelling and credits it to much reading.