Champion to compete in state spelling bee in March

Published 9:30 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

To use a sentence in the parlance of a spelling bee, it is “germane” that Ben Currin can spell “germane.”

It is also a good thing.

The 12-year-old Lunenburg Middle School student won the Lunenburg County Spelling Bee held on Friday, Jan. 15. The winning word was “germane.”

First runner-up was Jaden Williams, a third-grade student from Victoria Elementary School; second runner-up was Pedro Manuel, a fifth-grade student from Kenbridge Elementary School. Benjamin, a sixth-grader, will compete against other students from across the state in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Spelling Bee on March 12 at the Library of Virginia, school system officials said.

“Benjamin has always loved to read and he has a natural ability to spell,” his mother Melanie Currin said. She noted he reads often and one of his favorite books is “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini.

“He works hard in school throughout the year and he continues to learn throughout the summer,” she said.

Mrs. Currin said her son does not study a list year round, and the only way he prepares for the bee is to study the word list provided for him.

“The amount of words he will study will differ but with every bee you never know which word you will get,” Mrs. Currin said. “You may study 1,500 words or more and get the 1,501 word that you do not know. The key is to understand the origins and meanings of the words. Each language has different rules and it is important to know these rules.”

This was Benjamin’s third straight win. He competed his first year as a third grader and was runner up in the county bee, going on to win in the fourth and fifth grades and this year.

His mother said Benjamin struggled the first year in Richmond because he was very nervous.

“Last year he did a good job and felt more confident,” she said.

He’s looking forward to going back this year.

Benjamin’s parents are Greg and Melanie Currin. His paternal grandparents are Ronnie and Beverly Currin of Keysville; and his maternal grandparents are Matt and Wanda Bolton of Saxe.

Benjamin likes his core subjects and he really loves the agriculture, computer and woodworking classes offered at the middle school, his mother said.

Benjamin would like to be a Veterinarian or anything associated with working with animals.

“I’m sure as he grows older he may change his mind,” Mrs. Currin said. “But, we know whatever he chooses to set his mind to he will accomplish it.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Currin said she has no formula for raising a good speller.

“We believe the key to raising a child who loves to learn is to encourage them to do their best and I emphasize their best,” Mrs. Currin said. “Every child is different and children learn differently. We also appreciate the education that Ben has received at Victoria Elementary School and Lunenburg Middle School. So, I’m not sure we intentionally raised a good speller but, I know we have raised our children to value education and to be humble for all their accomplishments that they have earned.”