Edgartown sixth grader Spencer Pogue took first place at the all-Island spelling bee Friday, correctly spelling the word polymer.
“It’s been a goal of mine for a while to make it here,” Spencer, 12, said after the bee. He and his parents planned a celebratory visit to the Dairy Queen before making their way back to school. Spencer credited his parents and his sisters for helping him prepare for the bee.
Spelling runs in the Pogue family; Spencer, a triplet, beat out his sisters, runners-up Molly and Paige, at the local level last month.
“There’s been some family competition,” he said.
For the Island bee, Spencer studied the word sheets provided by the school district. He crammed Thursday night, but resisted the temptation to study more in the hours before the bee Friday. “I tried to stay really calm,” he said.
First place won Spencer a giant dictionary and a trip to Washington D.C. to take on the country’s best spellers at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He’s already begun to review YouTube videos of previous spelling bees to prepare.
While he’s always thought of himself as a good speller, Spencer’s favorite subject at school is science, he said. “It’s just interesting to learn what makes everything we see and how it functions,” he explained.
Chloe Combra, grade 5, represented Tisbury school. Keith Chatinover, an eighth grader, represented the Charter School. Fynn Monahan, a fifth grader, spelled for Chilmark. Makenzie Luce, grade 7, represented the Oak Bluffs School. Zephy Thompson, grade 6, spelled for West Tisbury school.
Presiding over the bee were judges Dr. James H. Weiss, superintendent of schools, and Janet Hefler, a reporter for the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The bee was sponsored by The Martha’s Vineyard Times, who will pay for Spencer to attend the national bee in May.
View a slideshow of the bee here.