KOKOMO, Ind. – After a tense two hours in the Kokomo Event & Conference Center Tuesday night, Maconaquah Elementary School fifth-grader Anastasia Spahr correctly spelled the word “melancholy” to take first place in the Central Indiana Regional Spelling Bee.After 18 rounds of competition, the 11-year-old Anastasia topped 29 students from schools in Howard, Cass, Miami and Fulton counties to earn the right to compete in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 25 to 31 in Washington, D.C. The regional bee was sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region with support from The Andersons, Z92.5 and Haynes Community Federal Credit Union.
Miami County students swept the podium spots in the regional competition. Garrett Rogers, 14 and an eighth-grader at Peru Junior High, got hung up on “ubiquitous” and came in second. Toby Turner, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Blair Pointe Upper Elementary School, took third place after winning a spell-off with fourth-place finisher Parker Wilburn, a sixth-grader at Logansport’s Lincoln Middle School.
Anastasia is the daughter of Tim and Marcet Spahr; Toby’s parents are Billy and Shannon Rogers; and Toby is the son of Lawrence and Brandi Turner.
Rob Rupe, WIOU program director and director of creative services for Hoosier AM/FM, served as emcee and Josh Rockey, associate professor of Communication at Ivy Tech, served as pronouncer. Judges included Jessica Green of Kokomo radio station Z92.5; Ivy Tech student Rebecca McVay; Thea Scheblo, assistant director of Admissions at Ivy Tech; and Bob Stephenson, executive director of the Literacy Coalition of Howard County.
For her first-place finish, Anastasia received an expenses-paid trip to the nationals along with a trophy and a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. Second-place finisher Garrett received a trophy and a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition donated by Merriam-Webster and third-place finisher Toby received a trophy. All three will receive one-year subscriptions to the Encyclopedia Britannica online.
The 30 students who began Tuesday night’s competition qualified for the regional by winning their schools’ spelling bees.