Eighteen sixth-through eighth-grade students, representing 10 area junior high and middle schools, competed in the 31st annual Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee held recently at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Arlington Heights.
The first-place finisher was Meredith Nowotarski of St. Emily School in Mount Prospect. The second-place finisher was Sydney Sadler, of Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights; and the third-place finisher was Grace Nessen-Gilligan, of Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights.
The bee used 207 words and lasted for an exciting 16 rounds. This year's group of contestants showed great depth, as it took six rounds until the first speller was eliminated. Spellers battled through words such as contemporaneous and grandiloquence, before Meredith Nowotarski spelled both stenographer and beatitude correctly to claim first place.
All three finalists competed in the Regional Spelling Bee, in Inverness, on March 9, where the top three finishers of the Regional Bee qualified for the state tournament.
Schools and students participating in the Spelling Bee were:
• Christian Liberty Academy: Jesse Castro and Micah Rubel
• Our Lady of the Wayside: Grace Nessen-Gilligan and Caroline Lavender
• St. James Junior High School: Clarissa Gomez
• South Middle School: Grant Hiskes
• Thomas Middle School: Sydney Sadler and Austin Schmidt.
• St. Mary School: Regine Buenaobra and Stuart Lukz
• Holmes Junior High School: Susanna D'Silva and Erika Hong
• St. Paul School: Eugenia Petropulos and Anthony Romanelli
• St. Emily School: Meredith Nowotarski and Lindsey Lee
• St. Colette School: Jessica Davis and Chandrachur Kesana
The bee was hosted by Holy Rosary Council #4483 of Arlington Heights, and co-sponsored with Mount Prospect Council #6481 and Our Lady of the Grove Council #13448. All public and private junior high schools and middle schools serving Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Long Grove, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, and Wheeling were invited to send two representatives to participate.
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