Jeremiah Rather wins with the correct spelling of “poinsettia.”

The Welcome Center at Butler Community College was abuzz with nervous excitement as the large meeting room filled with students, parents, teachers and administrators representing 28 schools from across Butler County.

Each student was selected as a representative to the Butler County Spelling Bee after winning their school-wide Spelling Bee.

First up was a practice round which gave the spellers an opportunity to calm their nerves and let parents take photos before the competition officially began. Students were allowed a piece of paper and writing instrument in order to spell check the old-fashioned way. Upon successfully spelling a word, a student would hear “Right!” When a word was spelled incorrectly, a bell would ring alerting the student to leave the competition floor and take a seat in the audience with their parent or teacher.

Calculus. Cooperage. Guava. Suffocate. Hibiscus

Words were pronounced, parts of speech and etymology were given, as well as a definition, and the word was used in a sentence, if the student requested.

After an hour, three rounds of spelling words and a brief intermission, less than a dozen students remained in the contest. Cliques, accompany, apprehend, barbarous, rivulets, haberdashery, and portentously were some of the words spelled incorrectly.

As the rounds continued, the words increased in difficulty.

Pegasi. Catacombs. Munificent. Eviscerated. Ambuscade. Balaclavas. Millefeuille. Phaeton. Marengo. Homonym. Seersucker..

By the eighth round, three spellers remained, #3, Jeremiah Rather, #9, Grace Schmidt and #13, Karenna Bhaktn. All three spelled their words correctly until the eleventh round when Grace Schmidt of Circle Middle School misspelled “stipple” and was awarded Second Runner-Up.

Nine more rounds of correctly spelled words. Then, in the twenty-first round, Kareena Bhaktn, El Dorado Middle School student misspelled “wainscot” and opening the door for Jeremiah Rather to win the Spelling Bee with the correct spelling of “poinsettia.” Kareena was awarded First Runner-Up

Jeremiah said he practiced spelling every night for 20 minutes. He will represent Butler County at the Regional Spelling Bee on March 9th at Newman University.