LIMA — In a weak voice Catherine Myers, an eighth-grader at St. Charles Elementary, spelled out the word filament — f-i-l-a-m-e-n-t — to win the Allen County Spelling Bee on Saturday at The Ohio State University-Lima campus.
It took 16 rounds to win against 14 other contestants in this year’s bee.
The runner-up, Alexandra Greer, an eighth-grader from Temple Christian, missed on alliteration. Myers had to spell semantics and then filament to win the title.
For Myers, she wasn’t completely sure of the final word.
“I had trouble with filament. I was wondering whether it be two L’s or one,” Myers said.
Myers won The Lima News Regional Bee last year.
She and the other contestants in the Allen County Bee will participate in this year’s regional bee on March 21 at the Lima Masonic Center.
Myers, who nearly lost her voice, admits some uncertainty coming into Saturday’s bee.
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure because I had no clue exactly what words were going to be used. I knew what list was for the school. I hopefully know the list for regionals. So I honestly didn’t know what to think or what could happen. I was prepared for anything,” Myers said.
The spelling bee is something she’s worked hard to get good at, studying with her mother “multiple hours a day.”
“We just ran words over and over and over and over and over again until I memorized them,” Myers said.
Being a good speller has its advantages in the classroom.
“When I’m writing the papers for my teacher, it makes everything easier because I’m more aware of how things can be spelled, and I don’t always have to rely on looking every single word up,” Myers said. “It helps in reading because I know what the words are. I don’t have to guess what they mean or what they are. It just really overall helps with everything,” Myers said.
Organizers praised the work that goes into learning the words.
“I think that it gives them a chance to speak publicly, which is a difficult thing to do,” said Shannon Bowers, director of gifted services at the Allen county Education Service Center. “It builds confidence, gives them a chance to meet kids from other schools where they wouldn’t be able to and just have an academic competition where they can showcase their talents.”
Myers received a $100 gift card for finishing first. Greer received a $75 gift card for her second-place finish, and Aaron Bockey received a $50 gift card for finishing in third.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.