January 2012 Archives

The Stone Bridge Middle School Debate Team competed in another debate competition this past Saturday. The Asbury Park Press ran a great story on the debate with wonderful pictures. Congratulations to our team and to Mrs. Burek and Mrs. Hoffman for their work with our debaters! Read the entire story by clicking on the following link!


Upper Freehold: Sixth-graders triumph in the Scripps Spelling Bee

Stone Bridge Middle School winner advances to county tournament

Date Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By Rachel Lavery, Special Writer - Messenger Press


Ceremonious: (adj.) relating and appropriate to grand and formal occasions.

   UPPER FREEHOLD -- Certainly, the second annual Scripps Spelling Bee at Stone Bridge Middle School was a ceremonious occasion and sixth-grader Julian Tsang spelled the adjective correctly on his way to winning the school championship.

   Twenty-five of the school's top spellers in grades 4-8 competed in the contest on Tuesday night, Jan. 10 in the SBMS auditorium, spelling words as varied as "marshmallow" and "astrophysicist." The competition lasted 16 rounds before the victor was declared.

   The contest was moderated by teacher Chris Scaturo, and included three judges, SBMS principal Mark Guterl, PTA president Vanessa DePompo and Middle School Program Executive Chair Amie Kazawic, who were on hand to make sure the rules were followed.

   The evening began with words of encouragement from the 2011 SBMS Spelling Bee winner, George Veit, who told the spellers: "Do not give up; try your best."

   After his victory last year, George went on to place ninth in a group of more than 100 students at the county tournament and was presented with a plaque that will hang in the middle school. Last year's second-place SBMS winner, Amanda Eider was also on hand to cheer for the 2012 spelling competitors, but neither she nor George competed because they both graduated from SBMS last June.

   After introducing the spellers and reviewing the rules, Mr. Guterl started the competition, reminding the students "all you need to do is your best."

   After each student spelled out a word, Mr. Scaturo would ask, "Is that your official answer?" Many students would nervously reply "yes," but in Round 3 sixth-grader Ally Jurgens answered confidently, "Indeed!"

   When a word could be confused with another word, the moderator would preface the word with a definition and/or the part of speech. The words became progressively difficult as the night went on, as did some of the definitions and homonym explanations. The word "antelope" (a "deerlike ruminant") elicited giggles from both the spellers and the audience when the nervous student repeated the word "canteloupe" before being corrected by Mr. Scaturo.

   The nervous looks of the spellers and the tentative way they would answer Mr. Scaturo's queries became more apparent as the rounds proceeded. Students began using the air or the table in front of them to "write" out their words with their fingers. The audience seemed equally nervous, sitting on the edge of their seats as the students' spelling of the words eliciting cheers and relieved or disappointed gasps. In an ironic turn, fourth-grader Jordan Reid was given the word "duress" in the ninth round. It was obvious that many of the students could relate.

   When Mr. Scaturo would inform a speller, "I'm sorry, that is incorrect," their descent from the stage to the front row of the auditorium was accompanied by applause from the audience. Teacher Karen Schumacher, who prepared the students for the spelling bee, greeted each contestant with a smile and accolades for a job well done.

   One of the most exciting parts of the evening was the performance of the younger spellers. The final fifth-grader went out in Round 10 and by Round 14 with seven students left, the fourth-graders were the majority group. Arya Singh was the fourth-grader who went the longest in the competition, going out in Round 15.

   At the end of Round 15, two spellers were left, sixth- graders Julian Tsang and Grace Klopman. Going into Round 16, Grace stumbled on the word "rhomboid." Julian then spelled "ceremonious" correctly for the opportunity at a championship word.

   The championship word was "prematurely," which he spelled correctly to clinch the win. Julian will next compete in the Monmouth County Spelling Bee on March 12, and if successful there, will go on to the National Scripps Spelling Bee Finals in June in Washington, D.C.

   At the conclusion of the SBMS contest, all the spellers were invited back to the stage for pictures and a medal presentation.

   The students who participated in the bee were: fourth-graders Jillian Carey, Deven Kinney, MacKenna McLaughlin, Arya Singh, Rea Singh and Jordan Reid; fifth-graders Emma Agostino, Jordan Kauffman and Justin Soborski; sixth-graders Ally Jurgens, Grace Klopman, Kaileigh McLaughlin, Anvitha Sathya and Julian Tsang; seventh-graders Zachary Dowbnia, Colton Johnson, Tommy Krosnowski, Bryce Perritt and Micayla Reynolds; and eighth- graders Hunter DiCicco, Michael Peters and Garrett Valentino.

   Editor's note: Teacher Karen Schumacher declined to release the names of three of the 25 students who competed in the public Spelling Bee event at the request of the children's parents


Student Writing

As we have done in the past, we will continue to highlight student work on our blog. Below is an essay by one of our 7th graders. Enjoy.

The Infamous Device by Connor Maxwell

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