October 1, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Middle School student repeats as spelling bee winner

Kaitlin Hall, left, placed first in the spelling bee district final and Ozi Ojukwu placed second Friday night at Midview West Elementary School. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Kaitlin Hall, left, placed first in the spelling bee district final and Ozi Ojukwu placed second Friday night at Midview West Elementary School. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

EATON TWP. — It was a bee to remember.

After 31 rounds — the most time spent spelling words the judges could remember — Kaitlin Hall was declared the champion of the 2014 district final spelling bee.

This is the second consecutive year Kaitlin has won the district bee.

Kaitlin, an eighth-grader from Avon Middle School and the winner of the East District Preliminary Bee, went head-to-head against West District Preliminary Bee finalist Ozi Ojukwu, an eighth-grader at First Baptist Christian School of Elyria.

Before Kaitlin was declared the winner, the final three spellers, which also included Avon Lake Learwood Middle School student Emma Jankowski, spelled 184 words.

Spelling bee judge Debbie Greszler could not believe how many words were spelled among the final three.

“This is the longest bee that I can remember,” Greszler said after the competition.

Mentally exhausted from the event, Kaitlin and Ozi were relieved when the bee ended around 8:40 p.m. Friday in Midview’s West Elementary School. The bee began at 7 p.m. with 30 spelling finalists.

When Kaitlin spelled the final two words correctly — crenate, an adjective meaning “having the margin cut into rounded scallops” and suppositional, an adjective meaning, “of the nature of or involving or based on something” she turned to her parents, Matt and Kathy Hall with sheer shock.

“The competition this year was a lot harder because all of the girls are amazing spellers,” Kathy Hall said.

Ozi was comforted by her parents, Mbanefo and Ifeoma Ojukwu, after being declared the runner-up.

“I am so proud of you,” her father said to her as she fought back tears.

And while Ozi’s days of participating in The Chronicle-Telegram Spelling Bee are done due to her grade-level, she has at least one more competition in store. On Friday, she will travel to Chillicothe to participate in the Association of Christian Schools International bee, said school
principal Brenda Milam.

Kaitlin will represent The Educational Service Center of Lorain County and The Chronicle-Telegram at the 87th annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Competition in Washington, D.C., the week of May 25.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.