First-time competitor wins Vindicator Bee

Annabelle Day correctly spelled “tottered” and “yesteryear” to become grand champion

First-time competitor wins Vindicator Bee


Annabelle Day outspelled 50 other Mahoning Valley middle and elementary school students to earn the title Grand Champion in Saturday’s 81st Vindicator Regional Spelling Bee.

She correctly spelled “yesteryear” to capture the win.

Annabelle, 12, of Boardman, a seventh-grader at Willow Creek Learning Center in Boardman, was competing for the first time this year. Her older sister, Tamsin, was the runner-up both last year and in 2012.

“I just read over the words and my dad quizzed me on them,” Annabelle said.

Those were daily sessions. She also studied the word origins and definitions.

Knowing the origins helps her know how to spell the words. Besides members of her family, Annabelle brought along two Winnie the Pooh bears to the bee for good luck.

She also watched her older sister compete in previous years and decided she wanted to test her spelling skills against students from across the Valley too. Her win gives her bragging rights with her older sister.

The bee started in the Chestnut Room of Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center with 51 competitors. After the first round, the number had dwindled to 33. At the end of round six, five spellers remained.

Annabelle, Alex Stoneman, a St. Charles School seventh-grader; Cole McKenna, a Struthers Elementary fourth-grader; Lindsay Davis, a Canfield Elementary eighth-grader; and Morgan Smith, a seventh-grader at Discovery School at Kirkmere in Youngstown remained.

The five battled it out for four rounds before Alex misspelled “regatta” in round 11. Then in round 12, Cole stumbled with “aflutter.”

That left the three girls who went for four more rounds before Lindsay misspelled “wrinkly” and Morgan misspelled “sockeye.” Annabelle then had to correctly spell “tottered” and “yesteryear” to win the title.

Morgan is the runner-up and Lindsay finished in third place. Both girls received trophies, dictionaries and other prizes.

Morgan’s second-place is the highest finish in the bee for a Youngstown City School student in at least 13 years.

As the winner of the bee, Annabelle will represent the Mahoning Valley at the 87th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 25-31.

About 270 of the best spellers in the country will face off in the national competition, which begins May 28.

Read more in Sunday’s Vindicator.

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