• Patton student wins county spelling bee

  • Patton Junior High School eighth-grader Isaac Searle will go on to compete in the state spelling bee next month in Wichita, Kan.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    “Candidate,” “carnivore,” “cadenza,” “geisha,” “pentathlon,” “mistletoe,” “eulogy,” “cilantro,” “periphery,” “arachnid,” and “mesmerize.”
    The correct spelling of these words is what led to Patton Junior High School eighth-grader Isaac Searle being declared the winner of the 59th annual Leavenworth Area Retired School Personnel Association-run Leavenworth County Spelling Bee Feb. 1 at Eagles Lodge No. 55 in Leavenworth.
    “We are so proud of you,” said Pam Bristow, LARSPA president. “You worked so hard.”
    For his win, Searle was awarded a first-place medal and a plaque from LARSPA, and a cash award from The Leavenworth Times. He will go on to compete in the state spelling bee next month in Wichita, Kan.
    “I’m excited,” Searle said.
    “He worked hard,” said Melinda Searle, Isaac’s mom.
    LARSPA has been running the spelling bee since the group was formed in 1960.
    “As retired educators, we think spelling is important because for some reason if you don’t have a cell phone, if you don’t have spell check, you still got to know how to spell words if you’re going to communicate in writing,” Bristow said. “So, we just feel like it is important that you still have that foundation, and I think it enables you to be able to be a better reader if you’re a good speller.
    “Also, the spelling bee gives kids an opportunity to build self-confidence, to stand up in front of a large group and be able to spell words,” she said. “So, they get a lot of benefits from (the spelling bee).”
    The spelling bee featured 36 students representing 18 area schools’ top spellers in fifth through eighth grade. Following the Sunflower Spelling Bee rules, the bee lasted two practice rounds and 11 regular rounds when Searle correctly spelled “arachnid” and “mesmerize” after second-place winner Elisabeth Wangsgaard, Lansing Middle School seventh-grader, misspelled “camouflage” in the final round.
    MacArthur Elementary School sixth-grader Ava Johnson took third place after correctly spelling “fuchsia,” “worrisome,” “mirage,” “amnesia” and “marzipan,” before misspelling “lieutenant” in round six.
    Wangsgaard and Searle were also given awards for their second- and third-place wins, and all contestants received goodie bags filled with items donated by local businesses.
    Searle and Johnson were two of seven students from Fort Leavenworth schools who participated in the county spelling bee after coming out on top at their school spelling bees in January.
    Page 2 of 2 - Fifth-grader Ryan Horn and sixth-grader Rachel Dawes represented Bradley Elementary School; fifth-grader Sarah Franchitti represented Eisenhower Elementary School; fifth-grader Amanda Shea and Johnson represented MacArthur; and seventh-grader Andrew Quinn and Searle represented Patton.
    Horn said he was nervous but excited going into the spelling bee.
    “I thought it would be really fun to just give it a try and try something new,” he said. “It’ll help me be more confident.”
    Horn’s parents — Air Force Maj. Donnie Horn, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, and Jamie Horn — said they were proud of him for making it to the county spelling bee.
    “It is cool just to see him up there in front of everyone, and I know he’s nervous about it but he had the confidence, and it didn’t seem like he was nervous,” Donnie Horn said. “You just did what you knew you were there to do.”
    “This is the first academic competition that he’s done, anything pertaining to school, and I think it was a great start to win something,” said Jamie Horn. “He’s always done really well academically, but this is the first time stepping out to show his academic skills with confidence. So, it is a really proud moment.
    “A great vocabulary can set you above and apart in interviews or in board meetings, in job applications, and there’s moments when you don’t have your phone, if you’re reading street signs, if you’re reading something to pick up in the store, if you’re going through contracts and things like that,” she said. “You can view the world a lot clearer when you can spell correctly.”
    Horn was eliminated in round one after misspelling “rivulets.”
    Quinn said he was also excited about making it to the county level.
    “I hope that I can represent my school well,” Quinn said. “If you can’t spell, then you can’t write, and reading and writing is super important.”
    Quinn correctly spelled “concertina,” “apricot,” “trawl” and “buccaneer,” but was eliminated in round five after misspelling “accommodate.”
    Dawes correctly spelled “hilarious” and “spectrum” before she was eliminated in round three after misspelling “incorruptible.”
    Franchitti correctly spelled “catacombs,” “interrupt,” “croquet,” “desperado” and “obsequious” before she was eliminated in round six after misspelling “nemesis.”
    Shea was eliminated in round one after misspelling “recompense.”
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