Vindicator spelling bee champion heads to national contest

By Jordyn Grzelewski


Macey Stancato, winner of The Vindicator’s 84th Regional Spelling Bee, today takes her place among the country’s best student spellers.

The eighth-grade West Branch student is in Washington, D.C., to compete in the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Although Macey was feeling a little nervous in the run-up to the days-long competition, she also felt prepared. Since her March 11 victory in the regional bee, she’s been studying several hours per week to prepare for the national contest.

“I actually have a binder with all the lists of words I’ve had, and I went and researched the past years’ winning words since 1925,” she said. “I study rules for languages – Latin and Greek and how you can string consonants together in some languages.”

Language has always been important to Macey.

“I write a lot, too. Words and how they affect people are really important to me,” she said. “Probably because I’ve always grown up loving stories and words and fairy tales and things like that.”

After getting to D.C. today, Macey and the other participants will have an orientation, then start the week with preliminary rounds. On Tuesday morning, all spellers will take a multiple-choice written spelling test.

Later this week, elimination rounds begin, culminating in semifinal and final rounds. The competition ends Saturday. The trip is sponsored by The Vindicator.

Macey qualified for the competition after correctly spelling “sarcoidosis,” which is “a chronic disease of unknown cause characterized by the formation of nodules resembling true tuberculosis lesions on the lymph nodes, lungs, bones, skin and other organs,” at The Vindicator’s bee.

She beat out 44 other competitors.

Her accomplishments are a big source of pride for her family. Not only is Macey a champion speller, she’s also an excellent student who’s involved in extracurricular activities ranging from cheerleading to student council to band.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Macey’s grandmother, Victoria Best. “She’s getting scary smart. I always ask her to spell something because my phone doesn’t spell it right.”

“She helps me probably more than I help her,” Best added. “We’re all happy she’s gotten to do this.”

Best is among the group of supporters who are in the nation’s capital with Macey. Her aunt, uncle, and best friend Liana Gabrelcik also came to cheer her on.

She wouldn’t be here without that support system, Macey said, thanking her grandmother, language-arts teacher, classmates and Liana for their help.

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