Crews Middle speller advances to state competition

Staff Photo: Camie Young
Karl Patram, an eighth-grader at Crews Middle School, won the District 3 spelling bee Saturday, qualifying for the state competition.

Staff Photo: Camie Young Karl Patram, an eighth-grader at Crews Middle School, won the District 3 spelling bee Saturday, qualifying for the state competition.


Staff Photo: Camie Young Rohan Ramdeholl spells a word during one of the final rounds of the District 3 spelling bee Saturday, as Karl Patram looks on. Patram won the competition with Ramdeholl finishing second. They both will go on to the state competition next month.

SUWANEE — It’s no wonder Rohan Ramdeholl had a hard time spelling “tremulous.”

Puffing out his cheeks and bouncing on his heels while he repeated the word, unsure of its pronunciation, the seventh-grader seemed to be feeling the emotion, during Saturday’s District 3 spelling bee at North Gwinnett High School.

But when he faltered, a confident Karl Patram correctly spelled the word and won his second spelling bee in a month.

At Saturday’s showdown, a qualifier for the state competition, Patram, an eighth-grader, got through the tough words of ocelot, peccadillo and dichotomy, securing his trophy with the final word of “innumerable.”

But this time the Crews Middle School champ didn’t have to face off against his favorite opponent, little brother Neil, who came in second to Karl at the Gwinnett County Public Schools contest earlier this month. Neil was one of the youngest to compete Saturday but was sent to his seat earlier in the competition.

Parents Natasha and Parm Patram said they didn’t feel any better with just one boy on stage.

“It’s kind of like Russian roulette. But we tell them to go up there and have fun,” Parm Patram said, adding that Karl had been sick days before and they weren’t sure he would get to compete. “The power of soup.”

And Karl said he still felt sympathy for the second-place finisher, a friend who he has competed against in the past. Ramdeholl is a seventh-grader at North Gwinnett Middle.

The two will advance to the state competition, held March 15 at Georgia State University.


rissole 2 years, 6 months ago

While I'm not a fan of the spelling bee, which I feel is an inherently unfair competition that exploits/abuses kids for entertainment value, I definitely applaud the spellers and all their hard work. Congratulations to Karl and Rohan (as well as all the other spellers for making it this far), and I wish them the best in the state competition next month. Regardless of how they place, I just hope they have a blast.


SurelyNot 2 years, 6 months ago

It's a great competition and supports the responsibility for spelling correctly and using the mind to sort out sounds. Congratulations to all who competed at all levels. And thank you, schools, for promoting proper spelling which I fear is becoming a lost skill and art. With all due respect @rissole, I cannot imagine what awful experience you must have had to say it abuses/exploits kids. I hope you can recover from that and appreciate the time that families and educators put into this. And mostly, I hope you can appreciate the value it ultimately promotes.


rissole 2 years, 6 months ago


The spelling bee is child abuse. It exploits kids for entertainment value. It's not about finding who's the best speller--if it were, they would give everyone the same words, and the person with the highest score would win. It's first and foremost a show. A former pronouncer at the National Spelling Bee, Dr. Cameron, even admitted that. And a past national spelling bee champion, Blake Giddens in 1983, said the bee is "mostly luck and some skill."
In addition, Morris Freedman, a former English professor at the University of Maryland, had the following to say about the spelling bee:

"Spelling bees feed the American lust for instant winners, instant celebrities and instant virtue....[They] only confuse genuine learning with the high jinks that get one into Guinness record books."

At the very least, the kids deserve a fair contest, which the spelling bee is not. Why not just have kids just memorize the digits of pi? Kids would be far better off spending their time cultivating holistic language skills, such as learning a foreign language, than spending hours on a skill with such limited scope.


rissole 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, I thought of one more thing that's goofed up about the spelling bee. The degree of difficulty in getting to the national bee varies widely throughout the nation (and that's an understatement). For instance, Georgia, a state of nearly 10 million, sends only one contestant to the national bee (except for the Augusta area, which has its own small bee). OTOH, South Carolina, which has less than half the population of GA, sends 6. By that measure, GA should send at least 12. Now let's take Indiana, a state of 6+ million that sends 12 (yes, 12) contestants. To have the same level of difficulty as IN, GA should be sending about 20 contestants. So, that means that if you live in GA, it's basically 20 times harder to get to the NSB than if you live in IN. How fair is that? That also means that these two hard-working young men, Karl and Rohan, would basically have already achieved enough to make it to the national bee if they lived in IN. But because they live in GA, they have to slug it out with 18 other kids from around the state next week just to earn GA's lone spot. Insane. In fact, if Karl and Rohan lived in another state, they would've probably made it to the national bee a couple of times already, I suspect.

If parents are going to enter their kids in a contest, they should at least pick one whose format is fundamentally fair and in which the role of luck is minimized. As it stands, entering one's kids in the spelling bee is a lot like casting pearls before swine IMO. Of course, I don't expect all the talented, hard-working kids to be able to see through the many problems of the spelling bee, but adults certainly should.


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