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Allison Jones Deemed Top Speller In Orange County
Updated March 21, 2018 6:32 AM
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(PAOLI) - Allison Jones, an Orleans seventh grader, emerged from a field of 21 spellers to take championship honors at the Orange County Publishing Company's Great Spelling Bee March 18.

After the sixth round of the contest, only three spellers remained: Jones, Orleans fifth grader Ayla Steele and Throop Elementary fourth grader Dakota Mousty. All three competitors spelled their words correctly in the seventh round: Jones tackled "cobalt;" Steele, "diagnosis;" and Mousty, "jaguar."

Then in the eighth round, Jones successfully spelled "newfangled," Steele stumbled on "prattle," and Mousty missed "spritz." Jones went on to seal her championship by correctly spelling "carnivore," which was the 69th word of the contest. (A special spell-off was then held to determine who was officially in second and third place.) The entire contest lasted just about an hour.

"It was another exciting contest," said Orange County Publishing Company Managing Editor Miles Flynn, who was the reader for the event. "You could tell these young folks put a lot of time in studying and preparing for the big day, and it was great that we had a nice, enthusiastic crowd on hand to cheer on the competitors."

Jones follows in the footsteps of the 2017 champion, Cameron Apple of Paoli; the 2016 champion, Dylan Reid of Orleans; and the inaugural champion, Matthew Ross of Orleans.

"Now, Jones has several weeks to prepare to represent Orange County as one of almost 300 competitors at this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.," Flynn said.

Jones is slated to arrive in the nation's capital on May 27 and get to know the other students during a barbecue on Memorial Day. Preliminaries begin May 31. Finals follow the next day. All participants will also get to take part in the awards banquet and farewell party before heading back home. In addition, the trip will include some structured sightseeing activities and some free time for spellers and their families to explore the city.

"There are several people and organizations we just can't thank enough for making our event and the trip possible," Flynn said.

Funding partners for 2018 are the Orange County Community Foundation, Orange County REMC Operation Round Up, Old National Bank, Springs Valley Bank & Trust Company, Indiana Natural Gas, Paoli Walmart and the Springs Valley Education Foundation.

Flynn also thanked the teachers and administrators who worked behind the scenes to determine who made it to the countywide contest.

"There must be hundreds and hundreds of students who start out in classroom bees just here in Orange County," he noted. "If you step back and look at the event at a national level, Scripps estimates there are more than 11 million students trying for a shot at the National Spelling Bee."

Finally, Flynn thanked the judges for the event, Sarann Weeks of Paoli, Robert Henderson of Orleans and Todd Marshall of Springs Valley, as well as Paoli Junior-Senior High School Principal Chad Johnson for acting as host and welcoming the event to the Ruth Farlow Uyesugi Auditorium once again.

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