Kate Kondela, a 7th grader at Elm Middle School, won the District 401 Spelling Bee Thursday night after she successfully spelled "clickbait" in the 30th round of the competition.
Elmwood Elementary School 5th graders Emilio Aguirre and Erhan Mulvihill (last year's winner) placed second and third respectively.
As District winner, Kate received a trophy that will be housed at her school for the next year.
The entire event lasted more than two hours, as the final three spellers — out of a starting field of 23 — correctly spelled word after word for almost 20 rounds until Kate emerged as the winner.
Kate also won the District Spelling Bee in 2020 when she was an Elmwood 4th grader.
She now advances to the West 40 Intermediate Service Center Scripps Spelling Bee, which will be held Thursday, March 2, at E. F. Lindop School, 2400 S. 18th Ave., Broadview. The snow date is March 8.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's event! The students were selected after taking spelling tests at their respective schools. All 4th and 5th graders tested at Elmwood and John Mills Elementary, and Elm's 6th, 7th and 8th graders tested as well.
The contest took place at Elmwood in the school gym before an audience of parents, friends and community members.
The school teams were coached respectively by Lauren Mastrianni, Elm science teacher; Annina Meacham, Elmwood enrichment teacher; and Amy Fishman, John Mills enrichment teacher. The event as a whole was coordinated by Elm Assistant Principal David Parolin.
The judges for this year’s contest were Elm Principal Ashley Groeneveld and John Mills Assistant Principal Natalia Gomez. The official pronouncer was John Mills Principal Frank Kuzniewski.
The District-level contest was the beginning of a multi-stage selection process that will choose participants nationwide for the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The national finals will take place the week of Memorial Day 2023 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. Visit spellingbee.com beginning May 1 for a full competition schedule.
Congratulations again to all of our competitors — and good luck to Kate the rest of the way!
Photos from the 2023 District Spelling Bee
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