KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP — In the course of 10 days, Julianna Sloan has earned $150.01 by winning spelling bees.
Her father, Frank, promised her $50 if she won the Kingsville Elementary bee, which she did Jan. 7. He made good on the promise a few days later, and set the bar even higher for the district bee.
“He said ‘If you win the next one, I’ll give you $100,’” Julianna said Wednesday evening after winning the Buckeye Local Schools spelling bee. “I studied as long as I could every night. And I practiced with my (gifted program) teacher (Chris Lehnert) for a half-hour earlier today.”
Julianna’s winnings from her father thus total $150. But what of that penny?
“It was so funny,” she said. “My teacher gave me a penny to put in my shoe.”
Lehnert said she was just repeating for Julianna what she did for her own daughter, Ashley, who was in a spelling bee at North Kingsville Elementary more than a decade ago. The charm worked for Ashley, and it worked for Julianna, as well.
Julianna out-spelled her competitors, fourth-grader Ava Camplese of Ridgeview Elementary and eighth-grader Jordan Novitsky of Braden Junior High, to win the title in just three rounds. She won the bee on “obituary.”
Next stop is the county spelling bee, which will be held in February. Julianna said her father has not announced the size of the purse for winning that one.
“I don’t care how much (he offers), because $150 is a lot of money,” she said.
Ava Camplese, a fourth-grader, stayed in the competition by spelling “congratulation,” but tripped on “cooperate,” giving Julianna her shot at the championship.
Ava said she sacrificed play time with her sister and skipped math homework in order to spend an hour on spelling words every night. She went into the competition with encouragement from her parents, Christine Nelson and Jake Camplese.
Nerves got the best of Jordan Novitsky, who was Kingsville’s champion two years ago.
“I studied like crazy,” Jordan said with disappointment in her voice. “I studied every single night. My mom (Laurie Wasson) and I studied a long time.”
She misspelled “enterprise,” a word she knew.
“Nerves,” Jordan said, summing up the gremlin that stole her last chance at winning a district spelling bee. Perhaps Jordan would have done better if she had collected her incentive before the bee.
“My mom told me that if won, I could go to McDonalds for a cup of coffee,” Jordan said. “I’ve had only one other full cup in my life. I was hyper for about an hour, and then it wore off.”