PARIS — A 7th-grade student from Harrison is the new Oxford Hills School District spelling bee champion.

Dylan Casey, a student at the Oxford Hills Middle School, won the bee out of about 40 students representing the middle and elementary schools across the district by spelling the word “palatable.”

Howard Washburn, a Paris Elementary School student, came in second followed by Faith Paglierani, a student at Oxford Hills Middle School. The bee was held at the Oxford Hills Middle School after school Thursday.

The 10-round session went right down to the wire as Washburn remained the sole correct speller in the 10th round, but failed to spell the championship word “larynx” correctly.

The rules of the spelling bee declare that the last remaining speller must spell one final word correctly, or every speller in the previous round takes part in an ultimate spell-off, according to bee master Kathleen Blanchard, an Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School language arts teacher, who read the words to the students. Middle School language arts teachers Beverly Yates and Heather Riggott judged whether they were spelled correctly.

That meant that Casey, Washburn and Paglierani once again faced each other. Paglierani was taken out by the word “rutabaga” while Casey spelled “accomplice” and Washburn spelled “patience” correctly. That created the 10th round where Washburn incorrectly spelled “fallacy” and Casey spelled “infatuation” correctly. He then had to spell “palatable” to win the championship.

Casey will now go on to compete at the county spelling bee that will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Hiram Middle School. Casey said after the competition that he just always liked to spell.

Middle School language arts teacher Cheryl Lang said the spelling bee has been conducted for the past several years in the district. The students were selected by spelling bees held in each individual classroom in grades six through eight.

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The top three spellers in the Oxford Hills district are, from left, Faith Paglierani, Dylan Casey and Howard Washburn. The students out-spelled dozens of others in an hour-long bee that included words such as “centennial,” “encore” and “supplement.”


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