To say 12-year-old Phoebe Jackson had a busy day Saturday would be somewhat of an understatement.
Phoebe competed on her school team at 8:30 a.m. in a regional problem-solving competition at Pike-Delta-York High School near Delta, Ohio.
Within two hours, she was on the stage in the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Owens Community College competing against 50 other spellers in the 2014 Blade Northwest Ohio Championship Spelling Bee.
After two hours of competition, the Woodmore Elementary School student became the bee’s champion with the spelling of the word “convulsion.”
“It feels good at the moment,” she said of her championship.
“This was quite an adventure for one day,” said her father, Kevin Jackson, who drove Phoebe, a sixth grader, to the college in Perrysburg Township while his wife and their two younger children stayed at the Destination Imagination competition.
Phoebe said she prepared for the contest by having her mother test her with words out of a dictionary.
“We went over a lot of words,” she said. “I practiced when I had time after school.”
As champion, she will receive a trip to the National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, with her expenses paid by The Blade.
She also received a Merriam-Webster Third New International Dictionary, a spelling bee plaque, and $100 savings bond.
Phoebe advanced to the final three by acing manicure, albatross, palette, gregarious, concerto, nabob (a man of great wealth), hyperbole, gauche, chassis, misogynist, and mercerize (give luster, strength, and receptiveness to dyes under treatment under tension with caustic soda).
In the next four rounds against Katelyn Farmer, 12, and Ben Heck, 14, she correctly spelled Meiji (of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the period of the reign of the Japanese emperor Mutsuhito), prabhu (a lord or chief), sauerbraten, and zeitgeber (an environmental agent or event that provides the stimulus for setting or resetting the biological clock of an organism).
After Ben, an eighth grader at St. Michael’s Middle School in Findlay, stumbled on judder (the action or sound of vibrating with intensity), she carefully spelled honorific and then Katelyn incorrectly spelled acoustics, allowing Phoebe to win by spelling convulsion.
Before the bee, Mr. Jackson told his daughter that he would take over her daily chore of washing the dishes if she won. He said he will make good on the promise.
“I will be the one who has to do the dishes for the next month. But it was worth it,” he said.
Mr. Jackson said Phoebe’s uncle was a local spelling-bee winner many years ago and advanced to the National Spelling Bee, where he just missed eligibility for a scholarship.
Katelyn, a sixth grader at Oak Harbor Middle School, and Ben, as first and second runner-ups, each received spelling bee plaques.
The pronouncer for the bee was Paul Moffitt, an English teacher and department chairman at Sylvania Southview High School.
The judges were Debby Geyer, The Blade’s Newspaper in Education coordinator; Bailey Shoemaker Richards, 2003 and 2004 Northwest Ohio spelling champion, and Steve Dolley, board member of Read for Literacy and controller at The Blade. Paula Emery, The Blade’s Spelling Bee coordinator, was the auditor.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.