The Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Spelling Bee for 2013 went a record 58 rounds in an event that ran so long, it was reconvened on a second afternoon before a winner finally emerged.
The top two spellers – both from Lincoln Middle School – left the competition behind on round 21. The duel continued until 7th grader Elisa Marr spelled the championship word "kudzu" to claim her victory over second place finisher Abigail Ekstrom, grade 8. Emerson grade 7 student Christo Fosse finished third.
This year’s bee also broke the record for overall participation, with 303 students competing at bees held earlier at all seven schools as an extracurricular activity for students in grades 3-8. The top three from each building earned an invitation to the District competition, which was held January 29-30 at Franklin School.
“We are delighted to see such record high enthusiasm for this academic event and to see the competition getting livelier each year,” according to Meghan Keefer, District 64 Language Arts Curriculum Specialist. “The bee ignites students’ excitement to build language and vocabulary skills that boost literacy throughout their lives,” Ms. Keefer pointed out.
The winners of the individual school bees were:
Carpenter – Sam Miller, grade 3; Eden Paterno, grade 4; Bronwyn Bond, grade 5; Emerson – Adam Hauser, grade 6; Darek Nowak, grade 8; Christo Fosse, grade 7; Field – Bridget Flannery, grade 3; Justin Kim and Kenneth Kim, grade 4; Franklin – Fallon Adams, Madeleine Flanagan and Jacob Grandinetti, all grade 5; Lincoln – Abigail Ekstrom, grade 8; Elisa Marr, grade 7; Anastasia Dalianis, grade 8; Mohammed Rasheed, grade 6, who participated as an alternate at the District Bee; Roosevelt – Megan McKay, grade 5; Jackie Honan, grade 4; Brianna Irizarry, grade 3; and, Washington – Daniel Locascio and Zoe Berthold, grade 5; Catherine Sernel, grade 4.
The District 64 winner moves on to the Suburban Cook Northern Area Spelling Bee on February 5 at Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, as part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee for 2013.
Field School speech pathologist Mary Alice Gilgunn was the pronouncer for the District Bee; judges were Franklin School Principal Dan Walsh, Roosevelt School Assistant Principal Andy Petroline, and Field School teacher Anne Ham.