Crystal Lake Elementary District 47

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Bernotas Eighth Grader Wins Regional Spelling Bee

group photo with Serena Huberty, Dr. Kathy Hinz and Jeff Prickett

Pictured: Bernotas 8th grade spelling bee winner Serena Huberty with District 47 Superintendent Dr. Kathy Hinz and Bernotas Principal Jeff Prickett. 
Fox River Grove Middle School hosted the area’s annual regional spelling bee on February 8, 2017, where 11 schools and 22 students participated. Bernotas eighth grader Serena Huberty won the bee and will now move on to the countywide contest for the second year in a row. Bernotas sixth grader Luke Skorja was runner-up.

Huberty, who will be a freshman at Crystal Lake Central High School next year, said she became interested in spelling bees after realizing she had a knack for it. “A friend of mine told me, ‘You have a gift, why not use it?’ - so I went with it!” she said.  

Huberty attributes her spelling prowess to being an avid reader as a child. “Before I was a student, I read books a lot with my mom,” she said. To prepare for this year’s school and regional spelling bees, Huberty studied a school list of about 400 words provided by Scripps, host of the national spelling bee. In addition, she utilized a new “tool” -- a word list of approximately 1,100 words -- given to her last year by Bernotas language arts teacher Belinda Strebel.

In total, Huberty said she studied about five hours to prepare for the school and regional bees. She is now studying an average of one page of words a day for the upcoming countywide bee.

”I really want to take first place at the county bee so I can go to nationals,” she exclaimed.

“We are all so proud of Serena,” said Bernotas principal Jeff Prickett. “She works hard, takes the spelling bee very seriously, and strives to excel in everything she does. In addition, Serena is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet - we are pulling for her!”

The countywide spelling bee will be held on March 8 at McHenry County College. The winner will advance to the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the end of May.