Houlton Pioneer Times

Jay repeats as Houlton bee champ

HOULTON, Maine — Crowning a champion at Houlton Middle-High School’s annual spelling bee Tuesday morning took just under an hour to complete.

Seventh-grader Launa Jay of Littleton, the daughter of Wade Jay and Duska Britton, needed just 10 rounds to claim her second straight Houlton spelling bee crown. Jay successfully spelled “opponent” and “administration” to claim the title.

Determining a runner-up, however, took considerably longer as eighth-grader Jonah Trecartin and seventh-grader Kenzie Hodgkins battled through 10 more consolation rounds to determine which of the two would be runner up.

Hodgkins successfully spelled the words “commendable” and “boisterously” to collect the runner-up honors.

Both Jay and Hodgkins move on to the Aroostook County Spelling Bee, slated for Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. at the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Fox Auditorium, where they will face the top spellers from other County schools.

Houlton principal Marty Bouchard served as the “bee master” for the event, and explained the  the rules for the spellers. Participants could ask for their word to be pronounced again; ask for a definition; or ask to hear the word used in a sentence.

Organizers gave students tablets of paper and pencils to write their words down, if they so desired.

Houlton’s bee lasted a total of about an hour and 15 minutes and featured a number of difficult words such as “grandiose,” “affirmation” and “defensiveness.”

Other participants included eighth-graders Paige Royal, Taylor Faulkner, Nick McGuire, and Kurtis Reynolds; seventh-graders Emma Ebner, Mariah Peterson and Matthew Conley; and sixth-graders Macy Cram, Gabe Britton, Sean Crouse, Kohl Skehan and Alexis Campbell.

Erica Tweedie, Lauren McGillicuddy and Jennifer Carr served as the judges for the competition.

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