Scandium. It’s a rare chemical element and a word that many eighth graders wouldn’t know how to spell. But it was a winning word for Lane Schnell, an eighth grader at Magsig Middle School in Centerville.
Lane recently won the Dayton Area Spelling Bee, which was held at Sinclair Community College. Her victory over 16 other students qualifies her for an all-expense-paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., at the end of May.
This wasn’t Lane’s first spelling bee. As a sixth grader, she won her school bee, and last year she placed fifth at the regional bee.
“I love learning, reading and good stories,” Lane said. “Good spelling, grammar and mechanics are important, and I just feel like it’s better for me in the long run to be proficient in these things.”
She said studying the spelling bee words also has helped her with classwork. For example, she may learn to spell a difficult word and then come across it in a science or social studies class. Already being familiar with these words helps her understand concepts more quickly.
In the coming weeks, Lane will continue practicing with the spelling bee packet, which she usually studies with her dad, noting that they “laugh about words they can’t pronounce.” She’s also looking forward to her trip to the nation’s capital. Although she’s been there before, she wants to explore the National Mall more and visit the Holocaust Museum.
Lane also stays involved in her school and community. She is a Girl Scout, participates in programs at her church, works as an student office aide at Magsig, and is a “lunch buddy,” eating lunch with students with special needs at her middle school.
Lisa Martinez, Lane’s English Language Arts teacher for the past three years, is thrilled to see her compete on the national stage.
“Lane is an extremely bright student; however, most people know Lane not only for her intelligence, but her quick wit and humor,” Martinez said. “She has countless interests in all subject areas and readily explores those deeply on her own time. In addition to Lane’s ability to spell high level complex words, she is often seen wearing earbuds and listening to a wide range of music. She appreciates famous ‘90s hip-hop and will recite ‘Alphabet Aerobics’ for anyone who asks.”
Centerville City Schools serve more than 8,100 students in Centerville and Washington Township in southwest Ohio, offering a variety of educational programs to a diverse student population. The district operates 13 school buildings, as well as two preschools and a bus facility accommodating and servicing more than 100 buses. Visit www.centerville.k12.oh.us for more information.