Spelling bee is Dillingham Elementary’s first in-person family event since the pandemic began

Mar 19, 2021

Dillingham Elementary School’s spelling bee was the first event that allowed parents and families into the building since the pandemic began a year ago.

The view of the gym during the spelling bee.
Credit Brian Venua/KDLG


Families sat in the Dillingham Elementary School gym to watch the annual spelling bee. The scene echoes a familiar era. But this year, the room looked slightly different. 

Ten elementary students sat over six feet apart, wearing masks - the best spellers in their classes. Only two family members per contestant were allowed, and others watched on Zoom. 

First place went to fourth grader Chasen Savo, and third grader Whitney Brown won second.


First Place, Chasen Savo
Credit Brian Venua/KDLG
Second Place, Whitney Brown
Credit Brian Venua/KDLG


Nick Tweet is the school’s director of climate and culture. He said the smaller event was a success.

“Two representatives per family kind of worked and kept our numbers (down),” he said. “Since we had 10 classroom champions, the audience was 20 and it actually helped the kids because a large portion of the audience was their family.” 

Tweet said the spelling bee set a precedent for the school to hold future events and bring back some of its other annual events.

“We’ve got some things coming that we would love to get as much parent involvement and family involvement as possible,” he said. “We’ve got some traditions, the science fair, the hot dog run and we’re always looking for ways in these times to be creative.”

Ahead of the school-wide bee, third- through fifth-grades held classroom spelling bees. The 10 students who placed highest were eligible to compete against the classroom champions. 

Tweet said the spelling bee is an opportunity for students to show off their hard work in a difficult year.

A wide view of the spelling bee from behind.
Credit Brian Venua/KDLG

“The end result is that magic when you’re like ‘oh my gosh can this kid spell this word,’ he said. “And you wind up cheering for every kid which is ridiculous because we’d be here forever but you want every kid to succeed.”

Along with the first and second place winners, the school gave trophies to champions in each of the grades. 






Contact the author at brian@kdlg.org or (907) 842-2200