“Melancholy” was the word that sealed Anastasia Spahr’s spelling bee victory Tuesday evening, though the occasion was anything but.
Spahr, a fifth-grader at Maconaquah Elementary School, beat out 29 other elementary and middle school students from across central Indiana to become winner of the regional spelling bee. Spahr earned an all-expense-paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this May as well as a Third New International Dictionary. Her mother, Marcet; father, Timothy; and younger brother, John; supported her on Tuesday.
“It’s a great honor to be able to go to the national spelling bee,” said Spahr, who remained stoic even as she accepted her first-place trophy after the competition. “I practiced, but I didn’t think I had much chance of winning because I knew there were several kids who were a few years older than me.”
Garrett Rogers, an eighth grader from Peru Junior High School, was one of those older students who gave Spahr a run for her money in his second appearance at the regional spelling bee. The pair made it through 18 rounds of competition before Rogers’ nerves got the best of him as he misspelled “ubiquitous.”
He made it through “u-b-i” before accidentally saying “t.” He immediately knew he had made a mistake and took his seat without finishing the word.
Rogers covered his face as he listened to Spahr correctly spell “odyssey” and then “melancholy” in the final round. Obviously disappointed with coming so close to a win, he still congratulated Spahr afterward. His mother, Shannon; father, Billy; twin sisters; and grandmother, Brenda; were there to cheer him up. Second place earned him a trophy, a Webster-Miriam Collegiate Dictionary and a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica online, which all top three finishers received.