MILFORD — After being delayed due to last week’s subzero temperatures, the Kosciusko County spelling bee began at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, at Milford School. The best spellers from schools across the county competed to be this year’s top speller.
There were 20 finalists competing in the county spelling bee. After an intense spelling bee that went 57 rounds, Ishita Pandey from Harrison Elementary School won the title of overall Kosciusko County spelling bee champion.
As the overall champion, Ishita was also the 5/6 grade champion and was awarded the $2,500 Richard R. Long scholarship. Var Bobba from Edgewood Middle School won the honor of receiving the 7/8 grade $2,500 Richard R. Long scholarship.
After the first five rounds, the competition became more intense with only five spellers remaining. After one speller was eliminated, the last four competitors, Ishita, Var, Titiksha Gorhe and Cale Bennett, went over 15 rounds before another speller was eliminated.
The final three, Ishita, Var and Titiksha, then went over 20 rounds without misspelling a word. Following round 47, the final two, Ishita and Var, remained. In round 57, Var misspelled the word “prosciutto” and Ishita was able to take home the title of champion by correctly spelling “debacle.”
The pronouncer for the spelling bee was Dr. Lauren Rich, Grace College. Judges for the competition were Michael Casey, assistant principal and athletic director at Milford School, Jenny Campbell, a mental health therapist for Wawasee Community Schools, and Shelly Wilfong, the chief analytics officer for Warsaw Community Schools. Three teachers from Milford School also acted as verifiers: Paula Fiscus, Cheryl VanLaeken and Betsy Likens.