Popov named Presque Isle Middle School’ top speller

15 years ago
    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The word “hydrology” may not mean a lot to most people, but it means a lot to William Popov. Well, the spelling of the word does anyway.
Hydrology was the word Popov spelled correctly Feb. 2 earning him the title of 2009 Presque Isle Middle School Spelling Bee Champion. The seventh-grader will now represent his school at the Aroostook County Spelling Bee, which will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at PIMS. A snow date has been scheduled for March 11.
“When I heard the word ‘hydrology,’ I knew I could spell it,” said Popov. “I got a lot of the easy words. A lot of the words that other people got I couldn’t spell. Another word that I got was ‘acme.’ The words are random, so I guess I lucked out.
“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking when you’re up there on stage in front of your friends. Most of the classrooms came down to watch it, so the auditorium was almost full, plus my mom was there,” he said. “It’s stressful and exhilarating at the same time … also suspenseful until you hear the bell and know if you spelled the word correctly.”
Hydrology is defined as the science of the properties of water, especially of its movement in relation to land.
Each homeroom holds a spelling bee, and the winners compete in a school bee to determine who will represent Presque Isle Middle School in the county contest.
Gail Hagelstein, library/media specialist, served as the school spelling bee’s head judge, while Julie Gardner, computer applications and technology instructor, was the pronouncer. Other judges were Dianne Leavitt, Elaine Hendrickson and Jay Blackstone.
“There were 21 students – each representing a homeroom – who competed in the school spelling bee,” said Hagelstein. “They got up, introduced themselves and told the audience which homeroom they were representing.
“We then had a practice round to help settle the butterflies, and then we started in on the rounds,” she said. “William won and we had to have a spell-off for the alternate, who is eighth-grader Haley Bouchard. In the event that William can’t attend the county bee, Haley would represent the school.”
Popov said the classroom spelling bee was strictly voluntary.
“You didn’t have to do it,” he said. “There were only four people that did it in my class. I’m in the Gifted and Talented program and I like doing stuff like this.”
Popov said he’s been good at spelling for as long as he can remember.
“When I was in elementary school and we did spelling, it wasn’t my favorite,” he said, “but it wasn’t the worst either.”
He now turns his attention to the county spelling bee.
“I’ll look at some of the handbooks that Mrs. Hagelstein gave me,” said Popov. “There’s a list of words you can study that could be used in the bee. It also gives the words’ root and tells you if it’s Latin and things like that.”
In addition to having his name engraved on a plaque that hangs in the school library, Popov received a trophy for being named school spelling bee champion.