CLAYTON — The Cascade High School Spell Bowl team won the state championship for the fourth year in a row at the competition held at Purdue University.
Team members won their fifth title overall by only one word.
“It was a nail-biter,” Coach Cindie Corn said. “Competitive spelling is so intense when we’re behind, so it was a very exciting victory.”
Corn has been coaching the team for more than 10 years. She is a teacher’s aide at Cascade and since the school did not have anything going on with academic teams, she chose to coach the spell bowl and quiz bowl teams.
The spell bowl team consists of 15 students, from all four grades, who try out at the beginning of the school year.
During the four competitions, 10 students spell, and alternate the other five in. They have a weekly practice after school, studying words.
The list at the competitions consists of 3,000 words, but the students do not know what words will be given during a specific competition.
“We have a successful program,” Corn said. “The students gain word knowledge that is valuable for the SATs. They learn meanings and the spellings of words.”
The team won four competitions this year: invitational, area, county, and state. Each team is based on enrollment size, and no large schools ever compete with the small schools.
“There were 9,800 Indiana students involved with 834 teams, including elementary and middle schools,” Corn said. “Working with these kids (on this team) is great; it really opens their minds to a higher level of learning.”
The season is now over, but Corn and the other coaches will get a fresh list of spellers in the spring to form a team for next fall.
The Indiana Academic Spell Bowl started in Indiana in 1985. For more information, visit the website at IASP.org.