Chinook School Selects Spelling Bee Winner


February 7, 2024

A seventh grader at Chinook Junior High School, Cynnloch Gibson took first place at the Chinook School District Spelling Bee on Tuesday, January 30. He will advance to the Blaine County Spelling Bee on February 13, along with seven others who qualified.

Sam Sanders, an eighth grader, took second place, while January Jensen, a seventh grader, captured third. Other qualifiers for the County Bee, in no particular order, as they all went out in the same round, are Amos Billmayer, (sixth grade), Lillie Skoyen, (seventh grade), Quin Billmayer (eighth grade), Thane Drugge (eighth grade), and Megan Siemens (eighth grade). Siemens will serve as an alternate.

Gibson and Sanders, who was Blaine County's 2023 Spelling Bee Champion, went 17 rounds before Gibson correctly spelled the winning word "vagrancy" in the 18th round.

According to Cynnloch's mother, Danelle Gibson, the two boys are "quite the competitors." She predicted: "I wouldn't be surprised if it comes down to the two of them again at the Blaine County Spelling Bee this year."

This isn't Gibson's first time in the spelling bee spotlight. He captured Blaine County Spelling Bee honors while in the fifth grade and advanced to state competition as a representative of Blaine County.

The Blaine County Bee is scheduled for February 13 at 10:00 a.m. in the Lloyd D. Sweet Auditorium. Registration will take place from 9:30-9:45 that morning.

The winner of the Blaine County Bee will advance to the 59th Annual Treasure State Spelling Bee, which will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 1:00 p.m. on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman.

Sponsored in part by the Montana Television Network, the Treasure State Spelling Bee is the final competition for determining one contestant who will represent Montana at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The state spelling bee is open to students in grades 4-8 from Montana public and private schools that are enrolled with Scripps.


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