The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 8, 2013

Girl scoffs at pressure but wins spelling bee

Star Beacon

KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP — The stakes were high, $50 to be exact, but fourth-grader Julianna Sloan refused to succumb to the pressure and won the Kingsville Elementary School’s spelling bee Monday morning.

The fourth-grader beat out 13 other students in grades 4 and 5. The bee lasted about an hour and went 15 rounds before Julianna emerged the school’s top speller by spelling “succumb.”

Madison Irish, also a fourth-grader, took second place. Both students live in North Kingsville and the girls have been best friends since third grade. They even celebrated their classroom wins together. Julianna forgot to pick up her list of practice words when she left Madison’s house after the celebration.

“It was really funny ... I left them there, and did not get to practice the words until Sunday,” Julianna said. Her mother, Deanna Sloan, worked with Julianna on the practice words throughout the afternoon and evening Sunday.

“She put a dot next to it if I got it right and circled it if it was wrong,” said Julianna, who then focused on the troublesome words. Julianna said the hard work paid off, especially when she ended up with the word “covetous” in one of the last rounds.

Julianna, who is a 4.0 student, had a special reason to study hard and win the bee — her father, Frank, promised her $50.

“I think I’m going to save it,” Julianna said . “I’ll get some more at the end of the grading period. I get $50 if I make the honor roll. I usually make it.”

A student in Lisa Palinkas’ class, Julianna credits her late-day cramming for the win. She also assimilates good spelling habits through reading; her favorite book series is “The Hunger Games,” which she is reading for the second time.

Madison, a fourth-grader in JoAnn Bernard’s class, said she’ll probably celebrate her runner-up win at an Outback Steak House. As with Julianna, her preparation amounted to studying the word list on Sunday. Her mother, Beth, and grandmother helped her with the task.

“I didn’t practice until Sunday. It was mostly my grandmother who helped me, but I also practiced with my mother,  too,” said Madison.

She lost her shot at first place by misspelling ‘suspicion.”

Julianna has a little more than a week to prepare for the district bee, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16, at Kingsville Elementary. She said she’ll prepare by studying the advanced list with her mother.

The other 12 participants in this year’s spelling bee at Kingsville were David Falke, Libby Weeks, Kailee Hummer, Alyvia Dalrym-ple, Kayla Drew, Todd Dickey, Addie McCoy, Desiree Royer, Mercedes Tabler, Sawyer Yasenchack, Mahlea Pierson and Madelyn Merlo, who came in third place.