Dakota Montessori Fourth Grader Takes Home First Place at Cass County Spelling Bee

Chinmay Gopi won first place and Timi Shonrunke won second place meaning they'll both get to compete at the state level

FARGO, N.D. — More than 40 Cass County students are getting the chance to participate in a spelling bee.

The opportunity could land them at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

If practice makes perfect, you could say Chinmay Gopi has got it down to a tee.

“There’s German, Italian, Spanish, Old English, Dutch, there’s 14 different languages,” he said.

Right after Gopi, who’s a fourth grader at Dakota Montessori, won his school spelling bee, he was committed to winning at the next level: the Cass County Spelling Bee. He spent each day practicing words from each of the different languages.

All that hard work has paid off making him this year’s champion and Ben Franklin seventh grader Timi Shonrunke took home second place.

As the top two students in the competition, they will both go on to compete at the North Dakota State Spelling Bee on March 18.

From there the winners will go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May. To prepare just at the county level, the students are given more than 500 words to memorize.

“That’s a lot for any one person or child to study for and the ages it ranges from is third grade to eighth grade so imagine your third grader studying all of those words and some of these words, I haven’t even heard of,” said Alicia Hildebrand with the Cass County Auditor’s Office.

It’s just one of the many reasons why even volunteers and audience members look forward to the bee every year.

“I just love it. It’s just so much fun to be involved with all these kids and they’re just so excited to spell and it’s just so great to see those smiles on their faces,” Hildebrand said.

Northern Cass eighth grader Jordan Larson also gets a trophy for coming in third.

The Dakota Masonic Foundation sponsored the bee so there would be no charge for the venue at El Zagal Shrine.

Categories: Community, North Dakota News