Mar 26, 2013

Eighth grade student from Custer wins USD Scripps Spelling Bee

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Max Oesterling, the son of Jeffrey and Dana Oesterling of Custer, S.D., correctly spelled “pronouncement” to win the oral competition of the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee on March 23.

Oesterling, an eighth grade student who participated in the bee as a representative of the South Dakota Christian Home School Association, advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 26-31. In addition to winning a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Spelling Bee, he also received a Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 12th Edition, donated by Merriam-Webster.

Eighth grade student Lexis Sherron of Brandon Valley Middle School finished second in the oral bee, which lasted 39 rounds and was held at Farber Hall inside Old Main on the USD campus. Adele Benoit, a seventh grader at Sacred Heart Middle School, Yankton, S.D., was third. Additional participants included Carolyn Blaha, a seventh grade student from Wagner Community School; Whitney Fuerst, eighth grader at Tripp-Delmont; Emily Fox, seventh grade, Spearfish Classical Christian School; Luke Norby, third grader at Dakota Valley Elementary School, McCook Lake, S.D.; Maria Braga-Henebry, eighth grade, Garretson, S.D.; Genesis Reynolds, seventh grader, South Middle School, Rapid City, S.D.; Maddy Gillett, eighth grade, Sioux Falls Christian; and Connor Lightfield, eighth grader at Milbank Middle School. A photo of the top three spellers is available at

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the E.W. Scripps Company and local spelling bee sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The competition is open for students in first grade through the eighth grade.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
< Back to news
414 East Clark Street • Vermillion, SD 57069
605-677-5759 • 605-677-6534 fax