Spelling bee champion Aaron Reichert
Spelling bee champion Aaron Reichert

VAN WERT – Van Wert sixth grader Aaron Reichert was stunned following this year’s Van Wert County Journal Gazette Spelling Bee held at the Marsh Foundation School Auditorium on Monday evening.

For six rounds, Reichert and Crestview seventh grader Olivia Ramos produced perfect spellings in a real dogfight finale to this year’s bee.

Finally, in the 10th round, Ramos misspelled “croquet”. Reichert then correctly spelled "postmortem" and "morgue" to clinch the title. In a playoff, Crestview Middle School’s Chloe Jo Black and Lincolnview’s Parker McKenzie fought for third place which was ultimately claimed by Black.

For their effort, Black was awarded $75 for the third place finish while Ramos was given $100 for the second place finish and Reichert was awarded $125 for the first place finish.

“I feel really good; I’m very surprised,” said Reichert of his first place finish. “I was really surprised when I realized I was standing there on stage as the winner. This was not the expected outcome at all.”

Reichert said his mother worked with him on the packet that had been given for students to prepare for the contest.

“My mom gave a lot of time helping me to study,” said Reichert. “She would give me the words and I would spell them back.”

Other participants in the contest included Caroline Marks (Crestview), Natalie Burk (Crestview), Case Young (Lincolnview), Bennett Kill (Lincolnview), Jason Grubb (Lincolnview), Madelyn Berryman (St. Mary of the Assumption), Katie Kramer (Van Wert Elementary), Lyndsey Heath (Van Wert Middle School) and Erin Schaufelberger ( Van Wert Middle School).

Judges for this year’s contest were Mark Bagley, Van Wert Middle School, Dan Metzger, principal, St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School and Keith Rydell, program service director, Crestview Local.

Master of ceremonies and presenter for awards was Mrs. Ashley Shepherd, County Spelling Bee Coordinator. Pronouncer was Doug Grooms, school psychologist/ and special service coordinator for Van Wert City Schools.

“I really would like to thank all of the volunteers and Marsh Foundation host Robbie Bryant,” said Shepherd. “The students worked hard and gave it a full effort studying practice words. They came prepared; they are really a nice group of kids.

“I would like to thank all family and friends for support this spelling bee,” continued Shepherd. “We are thankful to Van Wert Federal Savings Bank for sponsoring the awards as a corporate sponsor.”