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Area students advance to state spelling bee competition at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Twenty students from southeast South Dakota competed in the Southeast South Dakota Regional Oral Spelling Bee at the University of South Dakota on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The top spellers, Luke Norby of Dakota Valley Elementary School (McCook Lake, S.D.) and Adele Benoit of Sacred Heart Middle School (Yankton, S.D.), advanced to the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee where they will compete against eight of the state’s top spellers on Saturday, March 23 at Farber Hall, which is located inside Old Main on the USD campus.

Sophia Vyborny, also from Sacred Heart Middle School, finished in third place of the oral competition while the top three spellers during the written Spelling Bee were Erica Okine, first place; Kameron Meacham, second place; and Caden Peters, third place. All three contestants are students at Dakota Valley Middle School. Additional participants included Emily Kurtz of Dakota Valley Elementary School; Kaleb Martin of Dakota Valley Middle School; Natalie Shoberg of Keeli Bent Sacred Heart Middle School; Kristina Hlavac, Kerry Cosman and Dallas Fuerst of Scotland Middle School; Tommy Jennewein, Austin Hamm, Wyatt Knutson and Morgan Kerkman of St. Agnes School; and Lizzy Riley, Bailey Sejnoha and Ben Rust of Yankton Middle School. A photograph of all 20 participants is available for download at

The winner of the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee next month will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 26-31, in Washington D.C. 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