Vermillion Regional Scripps Spelling Bee Announces Winners

Photo of regional spelling bee winners. The spelling bee winners. Left to right - Mya Halverson, Kamil Schorn, Katie Shulte.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Vermillion Regional Scripps Spelling Bee has announced three winners who will go on to the state Scripps Spelling Bee at the University of South Dakota on March 17. They are Kamil Schorn, a 4th grader at Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion; Katie Schulte, a 6th grader at Yankton Middle School, Yankton; and Mya Halverson, a 5th grader at Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion. The championship word in the 8th round was cupolas.

The three will join regional winners from four other locations to compete for a chance to represent South Dakota at the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 28-June 1. In South Dakota the Scripps competition is sponsored by USD with help from Rotary International. USD sponsors the trip to the televised national bee, which includes visits to major attractions in the nation’s capital along with educational programming for students and family members.

The judges for the event were local community members: Maxine Johnson, Vermillion Lions Club; Art Mabry, Vermillion Rotary Club; and Nate Welch, Vermillion Chamber and Development Company. The pronouncer was Julayne Throeson from Williow Lake, a retired English teacher.

The competition also included a written component. The winners who scored highest in the written spelling test and vocabulary multiple choice test were 8th grader Alexandru Georgescu of Vermillion Middle School, Vermillion; 7th grader Alexander Calhoon from Scotland Middle School; and 4th grader Kamil Schorn from Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion.

This year nearly 60 schools across South Dakota signed up with the Scripps organization at to participate in the competition. Scripps provides instructional materials for teachers and schools to prepare for local spelling bees. Local winners move up to regional bees in one of five sites, Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Vermillion and Watertown.

The National Spelling Bee began in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a bee. Now, more than 90 years later, the Scripps bee reaches 11 million students every year.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News