PIERCETON — After six rounds of spelling, the annual Pierceton Elementary Spelling Bee had eliminated all but four students. From that point on, the students competed for another eight heart-pounding rounds until Cale Bennett emerged victorious in round fifteen. His final word, “Atoll.”
Runner up Addison Baxter showed tremendous sportsmanship and Pierceton Cub pride when she quickly congratulated her classmate with a high five. Classmates also joined in on Bennett’s victory with loud cheers, applause and hugs.
Bennett had been practicing his spelling words for weeks, including words like ichthyosaurs, Chesapeake, Kilimanjaro and administration. Many of the words students spelled are known as homonyms, which have a double meaning. As a result, Principal Mike McClain, who moderated the competition, encouraged each student competing to each and every opportunity to hear the words correctly, ask for them to be repeated if necessary, request a definition of the word, or even have it read in a sentence.
According to Cale’s mother, Megan Bennett, Cale had placed first for his classroom’s practice competition earlier in the month and was eager to see how well he would do against his entire grade. “He swims, and he does basketball, and he does different things. So he would come home very tired at night, but he would still grab his list of words and say ‘Hey mom, can we go through these real quick?’”
Should Cale not be able to uphold his responsibility (usually due to an unforeseen illness) to spell on behalf of PES’ students, Addison Baxter would assume those responsibilities to compete at the county level of in Cale’s stead.