MILFORD — The Kosciusko County Spelling Bee kicked off at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Milford School. A total of 21 student finalists, 17 fifth- and sixth-graders and four seventh- and eighth-graders, competed for the two $2,500 Richard R. Long scholarships and the title of spelling bee champion.
Overall champion who will move forward and winner of the seventh and eighth grade division was, Aditya Vaidya, Lakeview Middle School. He was awarded a $2,500 scholarship from Richard Long. Aditya won the overall championship by correctly spelling the words isobar and influenza. He won the seventh and eighth grade competition with the words adjacent and lunatic. Emily Haines, Milford School, was the runner up in the seventh and eighth grade competition.
After five rounds of increasingly difficult words, Cale Bennett, Pierceton Elementary School, emerged victorious with the $2,500 scholarship in the fifth and sixth grade division. He won his grade level competition by correctly spelling the words peroxide and amputation. The runner up for the fifth and sixth grade competition was Sophia Johnston, Sacred Heart Elementary School.
The finalists from seventh and eighth grade were Emily Haines, Milford School; Subbu Muthiah, Edgewood Middle School; Aditya Vaidya, Lakeview Middle School; and Braden Shepherd, Tippecanoe Valley Middle School.
The fifth and sixth grade finalists were Joseph Harper, Milford School; Aubrey Gerber, North Webster Elementary School; Leila Harrus, Syracuse Elementary School; Gunnar Crispen, Akron Elementary School; Lindy Hertel, Claypool Elementary School; William Norton, Eisenhower Elementary School; Paavan Dave, Harrison Elementary School; Jude Hall, Jefferson Elementary School; Zoey McKenzie, Leesburg Elementary School; Alondra Flores, Lincoln Elementary School; Robert Byron Marshall, Madison Elementary School; Caileigh Frentzel, Mentone Elementary School; Cale Bennett, Pierceton Elementary School; Sophia Johnston, Sacred Heart Elementary School; Kaylynn Miller, Tippecanoe Valley Middle School; Adan Meyer, Warsaw Christian School; and Bhumika Sansuddi, Washington Elementary School.
The pronouncer for the spelling bee was Dr. Lauren Rich, Grace College. Spelling bee judges were Joy Goshert, Wawasee Community Schools director of curriculum, Peg Zimmerman and Cheryl Van Laeken, Milford School teachers. Tim Yeager, Paula Fiscus, Betsy Likens, all teachers at Milford School, acted as the verifiers.