Freya Ruehr, a Sprague Junior, won first place in the Oregon Statewide Spelling Championship for Division III (high school) at the Oregon State Fair on September 1st. She received a $200 U.S. Savings Bond and a framed certificate for her win. Go Freya!
Competition was fierce this year: the usual 25-word first round was followed by a tense 5-word tie-breaker for top honors. While the results were being scored, contestants were interviewed about their schools, hobbies and spelling strategies by Debra Gil from Portland's KPTV. Freya talked about her interest in theater and her plans to create and direct her own show.
This is Freya's third statewide win: she won the Division II title while at Crossler in 2009, and the Division I title when she was at Liberty Elementary in 2007. (She also had a third-place win at Crossler in 2008.) In order to qualify for the state championship, students must win contests at the school, district, and county levels. Freya is one of only two students from Marion County who have placed at the state level in the past four years.
The Oregon Statewide Spelling Championship is run by Oregon Spellers, a volunteer organization. Oregon Spellers took over the contest in 2009 when the Oregon Department of Education, which had run it for 33 years, dropped their sponsorship due to budget cuts. Unlike the well-known Scripps National Spelling Bee, the Oregon contest is written, so everyone gets the same words to spell. (Most Oregon schools don't participate in the Scripps National Bee, which requires a local newspaper to sponsor.)