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Garretson student crowned state spelling bee champ at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- With the correct spelling of “imperilment,” Maria Henebry of Garretson, S.D., won the oral competition of the South Dakota State Spelling Bee at the University of South Dakota on Saturday, March 17.

Henebry, who participated in the bee as a representative of the Greater Sioux Falls Home School Association, advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 29-June 1. In addition to transportation and accommodations for herself and one parent to participate in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., she also received a Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, donated by Merriam-Webster; and a cash prize donated by Bank of the West.

Bailey Sejnoha of Yankton Middle School finished second at the 2012 South Dakota State Spelling Bee, which was at Aalfs Auditorium inside Slagle Hall on the USD campus. Ryder Heitz of Newell Middle School was third in the oral spelling bee. Additional participants included Danielle Gillis of Yankton Middle School, Lillie Dennis of Sioux Falls (Patrick Henry Middle School), Lexis Sherron of Brandon (Brandon Valley Middle School), Tara McEldowney of Castlewood Middle School, Max Oesterling of the South Dakota Christian Home Educators, April Will of Parkston Elementary and Jason Schnabel of Tripp (Tripp-Delmont Public).

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.


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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News