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Sanchez wins 2021 Pratt County Spelling Bee and advances to state

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Kory Anschutz (left), Skyline 8th grader took second in the Pratt County 2021 Spelling Bee last week, while Rio Sanchez (right), Liberty Middle School 8th grader won first. Sanchez received a dictionary as a prize and will represent Pratt County at the state spelling bee on March 27 at Newman University in Wichita.

There were 34 competitors at the beginning of  the 2021 Pratt County Spelling Bee held  Tuesday, February 2. 

Final competitors to outlast their peers with their spelling skills were Rio Sanchez, Liberty Middle School and Kory Anschutz, Skyline Schools.

Students from both Skyline Middle School (SMS) and Liberty Middle School (LMS) in grades 4-8 put their knowledge of spelling to the test in the highly competitve contest with Pratt educator Michele Hamm coordinating the event.

“The number of students competing had to be adjusted and limited due to Covid this year, but that the competition was still fierce and fun to be a part of,” Hamm said. “Typically, the top five students from each grade level get spots in the annaul spelling bee. However, this year that number was reduced to about the top 15 or so from each district.”

This year’s winner was Rio Sanchez, an 8th grader at LMS. Unfortunately, Hamm couldn’t tell us what Sanchez’s winning word was, per National rules. On March 27, Sanchez will travel to Wichita to compete in the State Spelling Bee, to be held at Newman University. She was given a dictionary to help her study up for the big day, and the People’s Bank in Pratt sponsored Sanchez by paying for the travel expenses.

“Marcia Stahl oversees the county bee and her crew, Jane Biles, Chris Himmelright and Sue Buhler--they've done this for a number of years,” Hamm said. “The People's Bank is a great supporter of the event as well.”

Coming in at second place was Kory Anschutz, a Skyline Middle School 8th grader. Third place went to LMS 5th grader Luis Venegas, who had to beat several older students to get his spot in the top three.

Regular spelling bee rules were followed in the event.