Geibel, Connellsville Junior High girls win Daily Courier spelling bees
Two winners emerged among 31 students during the 58th Annual Daily Courier Parochial and Public Spelling Bees.
The top students from both spelling bees each received a $100 check and will compete March 23 in Pittsburgh for the Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee.
For the parochial bee, nine students from Conn-Area Catholic and Geibel Junior-Senior High went three rounds until the field was narrowed to two participants — Hannah Geary, a fifth-grader from Conn-Area, and Grace Nowicki, an eighth-grader from Geibel.
The two verbally battled back and forth words — “forensics”; “depravity”; “unforeseeable”; “geologist”; “stimulus”; “constitutional”; “pantheon”; “amateurish”; and “incandescence.”
Geary misspelled the word “nuance,” which Nowicki correctly spelled and then correctly spelled “solitaire” for the win.
Nowicki, 14, said Wednesday night's bee was her third spelling bee. She came in second place during last year's bee.
“I just studied,” she said, dedicating an hour to learning the words every other night for about three weeks.
Nowicki said she was a little nervous at the end when it was just her and Geary, often feeling better about her chances when Geary would misspell a word that she also misspelled to keep her in the game.
“I'm excited and nervous,” Nowicki said about participating in the Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee.”I'm definitely going to study more.”
For the public bee, 22 students participated from Fayette and Westmoreland counties — elementary schools Bullskin Township, Zachariah Connell, Springfield, Clifford N. Pritts, Dunbar Borough, South Side, Connellsville Township, Dunbar Township, Ramsay and Connellsville Junior High.
Students went five rounds until it was down to Makensie Pindro from Dunbar Township and Megan Antoon from Connellsville Junior High.
The two had a brief, one-on-one exchange. Pindro misspelled “temporal,” but a mistake by the judges didn't have Antoon attempt to spell the word correctly. Instead, Antoon was given the word “bequeath,” which she correctly spelled.
Pindro then misspelled the next word, “cauliflower,” which Antoon correctly spelled and then followed up with the correct spelling of “contiguous” and won the bee.
Last year was Antoon's first spelling bee, which she won and then went to Pittsburgh. She won that bee as well and went to Washington D.C. for the National Spelling Bee. She lost in the second round, tying for 51st place.
Antoon, 13, said she did nothing different to prepare for this year's local spelling bee; she studied an hour per day for a month.
“I'll probably just study more,” she said about her planned preparation for the bee in Pittsburgh and hopefully Washington D.C.
Although she had fun participating on the national level, Antoon said last year's experience left her with a new attitude for the upcoming competition.
“Expect the unexpected,” she said.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.