Caroline Baetkey has a way with words. She loves to read and write just a little more than an average eighth-grader.
Her passion led to a second-place finish in the Marin County Junior High Spelling Bee Championship, held at the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael on Dec. 1.
Baetkey, who attends Sinaloa Middle School in Novato, finished as runner-up to White Hill Middle School's Juliet Crome, who successfully spelled "hymeneal." Juliet and Caroline will represent Marin at the state championship May 11 at Miller Creek Middle School in Marinwood. It will be the second time Caroline has made it to the state level; she last did it as a fifth-grader.
Caroline said "salient" had her pretty worried, but she got through it just fine.
"It was definitely fun, but some parts were more stressful," she said. "Obviously I like to spell and I'm pretty good at it, but I think it's really fun to be able to spell the words and compete with other people. It is nice to make it this far."
Caroline said she wants to be a teacher, just like her mom, Kerri, who teaches at Bacich Elementary in Kentfield.
Other Novato kids fared well at the county championships. Chloe Winnett, a seventh-grader at San Jose Middle School, placed third. Peter Brown, a seventh-grader at Our Lady of Loretto School, took fourth. Priana Aquino, a seventh-grader at San Jose, was fifth.
Other Novato participants were Jaclyn Trello, an eighth-grader from Our Lady of Loretto, and Ananya Somasekar, an eighth-grader at Sinaloa.
How would you fare in a junior high spelling bee? Check out the attached word list from the competition.