AVON — After an intense 15-minute word-battle between the two spelling bee finalists, Kaitlin Hall was declared the winner of the 2014 East District Spelling Bee preliminary at Avon Heritage North on Friday.
Kaitlin Hall, an eighth-grader from Avon Middle School, went head-to-head with Emma Jankowski, a seventh-grader at Avon Lake’s Learwood Middle School.
This marked the second year in a row that Kaitlin walked away the top speller of the East District Spelling Bee. Last year, she won the regional bee and advanced to compete at the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Emma had the upper hand at the end of the battle but then incorrectly spelled the first of two words. In order to be declared the winner of the spelling bee, a student must spell two words correctly in consecutive order. Kaitlin then correctly spelled “alkali” and “gauche” to win the competition.
Kaitlin, the daughter of Matt and Kathy Hall, said she began practicing in September 2013 for the spring spelling bee.
“I am more of a writer than a reader, but I love words,” Kaitlin said Friday.
During the final moments of the bee, each time Emma spelled a word correctly, she would look back at her parents, David and Terri Jankowski, and smile.
“I just started to practice last week and practiced three hours each night with my mom,” Emma said.
Kaitlin and Emma will join the 14 finalists from the East District on Friday along with the 16 from the West District at Regional Finals Bee at Midview West Elementary School.
The champion of the final bee will represent the Educational Service Center, Region 2 and The Chronicle-Telegram at the 87th Scripps National Spelling Bee Competitions the week of May 26 in Washington, D.C.