MORIAH — In his spare time, Nicholas Manfred consults his dictionary, studying the meaning of words, as well as where they originated and how they are pronounced.
The eighth-grader said knowing such things about words can help him determine how they are spelled, and Manfred hopes to defend his title as the region’s top speller.
A student at Moriah Central School, he took first place in the 2012 Champlain Valley Educational Services Regional Spelling Bee, and as a result, earned his school the honor of hosting the upcoming 2013 competition, which will take place at 6 p.m. Friday in the Moriah Central auditorium.
There, Manfred, the grand champion of his school’s Dec. 21 seventh- and eighth-grade spelling bee, will compete against 51 other area students in grades four through eight, all of whom have emerged as the best spellers in their classes.
“I think I’ll do good,” he said. “I am hoping to win again.”
While this will mark Manfred’s fourth trip to the Regional Spelling Bee, fellow Moriah Central student Madeline Cochran will make her first appearance in the event this year, having proven to be the best speller among her fifth-grade classmates at a bee held Jan. 10.
“I’m terrified,” she said of participating in the regional competition. “I’m terrified that I will get out in the first round.”
Still, she added, “I’m excited, too, so it kind of levels out.”
Like Manfred, Cochran has been doing what she can to prepare for the event.
”I usually write down most of the words to practice,” she said.
ORAL AND WRITTEN TESTS
The Regional Bee will commence with multiple oral rounds that will take place onstage in front of the audience.
Each competitor will receive one word per round to spell aloud. Before answering, he or she may ask to hear the word used in a sentence, as well as the word’s definition, part of speech, language of origin and any alternate pronunciations.