By CHAZ PLAGER
Before Palisades High School started its grueling end of the semester testing, student leadership decided there needed to be a way to release some of the tension.
The solution? A spelling bee.
Leadership held a school-wide spelling bee on Thursday, December 1 in the auditorium. The bee was held between eight volunteering participants, all in competition for a prize pot of $500.
Third place was $50, second was $150, and first prize was a whopping $300, budgeted through the Booster Club. Needless to say, tensions were high among the participants, each hoping they’d get a spot among the top three.
All the participants were juniors: Michael Mallouk, Jack Hesse, Carter Yen, Zach Chang, Jack Daugherty, Madi Meade, Anna Bartle, and Talia Alsman.
Leadership members Shira Berukhim and Rustin Kharrazi commentated and judged the participants during the competition, as the school looked on from the gym bleachers.
Round one began with the “easy” level of words.
Jack Hesse dropped out immediately on “cemetary”, leaving the number of participants at seven.
The next round was also considered “easy” words, and no one dropped out, prompting Berukhim and Kharrazi to move to the “medium” difficulty level.
Round three saw the loss of Carter Yen, Anna Bartle, and Talia Alsman, cutting the participants in half.
Round four saw Michael Mallouk and Jack Daugherty each drop out over “pseudonym,” which prompted a spell-off for third place. The two battled it out for three rounds before Michael’s unfortunate loss on “onomatopoeia.” Jack took third place and $50.
With only Zach Chang and Madi Meade left, the difficulty level increased to “hard.”
It took two rounds of the juniors, going neck and neck before the devilish “Staphylococci” took down Madi, leaving Zach with the grand prize of $300.
“I got close, but it’s not that big a deal,” said fourth place Michael Mallouk. “I work anyways [Walgreens], I’m not missing that $50. I just did my best and had fun.”
First place winner, Zach planned to save his winnings.