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Local students compete to win spelling bee

Lila Jahner, an 8th grader from Richardton-Taylor, competes in Stark County Spelling Bee Wednesday at St. Bernard's in Belfield. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)1 / 2
Students compete in the Stark County Spelling Bee Wednesday at St. Bernard's in Belfield. (Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

The final word was "extravaganza".

"E-X-T-R-A-V-A-G-A-N-Z-A. Extravaganza."

With that, Julianna Kadrmas of Hope Christian claimed her victory in this year's Stark County Spelling Bee Wednesday, Feb. 7, an event that saw over 30 students from area schools square up and "spelldown," competing to see who will represent Stark County at the state spelling bee later this year.

"I think it's a great opportunity, I think it's a chance for them to meet other people in the community and the surrounding area. It gives them a chance for competition which inspires children to do better", said Jo Ann Iglehart, a South Heart mother, who was there to watch her son Jaydon Haverluk participate.

The first round consisted of a written exam, testing students' spelling and eliminating some from the competition. The top 10 spellers were congratulated with a medal and continued to the next round. Lila Jahner, an eighth grader from Richardton-Taylor, was one of the top 10 contenders.

"I think I just like writing the words down and actually getting them right," she said. "I would encourage a younger kid to do it because I feel it would be good for them to try it out. Maybe it would help with their schoolwork and maybe it'd give them the possibility to talk with new people from other schools and possibly make new friends."

Jahner had been competing in the spelling bee since fourth grade, but this was her first year breaking into the top 10—and ultimately, the final two.

The competition continued with each of the top 10 contestants spelling a word. After two rounds the top 10 were reduced to two competitors, Jahner and Kadrmas.

Jahner was first to compete but misspelled her word. This did not mean she had lost just yet. It was then Kadrmas' turn; she spelled her first word right but needed to get one more right to pull off the win. As all the eyes were on her, she spelled her word and spelled it correctly, winning the spelling bee.

The Stark County Spelling Bee was sponsored by Dr. Robert Baer, Worshipful Master of the Dickinson Masonic Lodge.

"I wanted to get the lodges involved in the local spelling bees. That's why I'm here, to get us more involved so that people in the community can see that Masonic Lodges are doing something and this is important to us," Baer said.

Baer donated $100 to the event and buns for the hotdog dinner provided for the competitors.

Richardton-Taylor teacher Gae Zentner, along with Belfield teacher Billie Gibson, helped organize this year's Stark County Spelling Bee.

"I know a lot of kids in the past and I'm hoping that there are some who are here now ... that have actually dug into the dictionary and studied these words. It's only going to make them better readers and better writers" Zentner said.

The state competition is slated for March.