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Manistique student wins U.P. spelling bee

Title includes trip to Washington, D.C.

Kevin Baker, a seventh-grader at Manistique Middle School, is the winner of this year’s Upper Peninsula Spelling Bee Finals. Baker won the title on Wednesday at Negaunee High School. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

NEGAUNEE — Kevin Baker, a seventh-grader at Manistique Middle School, is the new champion of the Upper Peninsula Community Education Association’s Spelling Bee Finals, which took place on Wednesday at Negaunee High School.

Put on by the Ishpeming-Negaunee-NICE Community Education Division, the event featured the four top spellers from around the U.P. in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades who won other competitions earlier in the day to make it to the finals.

Baker won with the word “campus.”

He said he enjoys spelling, but still studied a lot for the competition.

“I’m really happy,” Baker said. “I’ve dreamed of this for a long time.”

And as with just about any other typical seventh-grader, he’s excited about traveling to the nation’s capital.

Baker and a parent will receive round-trip transportation to attend May’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., six nights lodging at the hotel where the bee will take place and a stipend to help defray the costs of meals and other expenses.

Baker also will receive a Bee Week 2020 registration guide, a Samuel Louis Sugarman award certificate, a one-year membership to Encyclopedia Britannica Online, a KEY Regional/National words eMentor, a one-year membership to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online and a Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Taking second place was fifth-grader Yuhan Hu of Sault Area Schools, followed by third-place finisher Madeline Ranta of Luther L. Wright K-12 School in Ironwood and fourth-place finisher Christopher Kiekhaefer of St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sault Ste. Marie.

Second and third places came with a $25 Amazon gift card and a KEY Regional/National Words eMentor. Fourth place came with a $25 Amazon gift card.

“It’s a great competition for kids to excel at and practice at,” said Jason Houle, principal and teacher with Ishpeming-Negaunee-NICE Community Schools. “It also gives, besides the academic benefit, a great chance to have a great trip to go to Washington, D.C., and check it out.”

The participants were given a little guidance during the event, such as when a word such as “peerless” was deemed to be a “near homonym.” They also had the opportunities, if requested, to have words used in sentences to defined to help them.

Local students who took part in the fifth-grade competition before the finals were Addison Kramer of Marquette Area Public Schools and Matthew Ostola of Aspen Ridge Elementary School. Taking part in the sixth-grade competition from the local area were Gus Hummell of MAPS and Nicole Kerkela of Negaunee Middle School.

Local participants in the seventh-grade division were Carmen Bruce of MAPS and Jadyn Negilski of Ishpeming Middle School. Sofia Marier of Aspen Ridge Middle School and Celeste Morgan of Gwinn Area Community Schools competed in the eighth-grade division.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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