Dillon Henry of Irish Hills Road is a Soldotna Middle School seventh-grader who took third place among 151 contestants at the 2008 state spelling bee Feb. 29. The top two finishers qualified for the national spelling bee in Washington D.C. This was Dillon's fourth consecutive year to participate in the state bee. During previous years he represented Tustumena Elementary School.
Dillon is not the first Tustumena-taught speller to get a taste of prize honey. 1959 was the first year for the state spelling bee and that same year Tustumena begin hosting an annual Kenai Peninsula Teacher's Association spelling contest.
Competing with schools from Anchor Point, Homer, Ninilchik, Kenai and Seward, Verda Bice of Tustumena won first place in the inaugural year. Tustumena continued to host the spelling bee for several years, but winning the event was not a requisite to participate at state. Winners of individual school contests are invited to state. Steve Webb, a seventh-grader, qualified for the state bee in 1963, but then spent the contest in Providence hospital in stinging pain from a broken leg. Tustumena runner-up, Suzan Huebsch took third place at state that year. The following year Steve took second place at state and about 1966 his sister, Shelle Webb won fourth place.
Speaking of Tustumena Elementary School, classes there are collecting box tops and competing with each other to encourage the effort. For more information, call parent teacher organization vice-chairwoman Tosha Checketts at 252-6930.
A group from Kasilof Community Church left for Ometepec, Mexico on Feb. 28. The church supports missionaries there who are building a school addition. Making the trip were: Bill Davis, John Evanson, Isaac Hutchison, Pastor Paul Kupferschmid, Roxane Mathewson, Darrel Misner, Arnie Nelson and Perry and Sheryl Neel. Three children accompanied them: Cody Brown, Chloe Nelson and Hannah Hutchison. They plan to return March 15.
Last week I spoke to Al Besch, a former Tustumena Elementary School principal. His voice sounded great, the same as ever. He's in Texas and has had rotator cuff, knee and stomach bypass surgeries. His weight has come down 150 pounds and he's doing well. He drift fished in Bristol Bay for many years but recently sold his boat. Ken Halverson has been at the helm of Tustumena since 2000, but is planning to retire. Previous Tustumena principals are: Enid McLane (1958-1962) though she didn't receive the title of principal until 1960; Charles Prescott (1962-1968); Tom Overman (1968-1970) he was a shared administrator, and came only one day per week; Mike Wiley (1970-71) was head teacher (there was still no principal, per se); Frank Dunlap (1971-72), was a teaching principal; Al Besch (1972-1990); Carolyn Cannava (1990-92); Mick Wykis (1992-96); Sam Bushon (1996-97); Lisa Stroh (1997-2000).
Some Kasilof ladies have been playing bunco, hosting the game in their homes on rotation. To join the fun call Gloria at 262-7855.
Do send me news.
Brotts have a girl
Olga and Brian Brott of Kasilof announce the birth of their daughter, Sasha Brianne, at 6:56 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008, at Woman's Way Midwifery in Soldotna. She weighed 6 pounds and 11 ounces. She joins brother, Jay.
Her grandparents are Janet Brott and Ludmilla and Mihail Mischenko.
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