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Annual Lansing area spelling bee winners announced

LANSING, Ill. (March 19, 2024) – Lansing students put their spelling skills to the test at the annual Lansing Area Spelling Bee held on March 14 at Coolidge Elementary School.

The contest featured 28 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students from Coolidge, Oak Glen, Reavis, Heritage, and Lansing Christian.

“We are so proud of the academic achievement of our spellers and admire their courage and strength to spell their words on a stage in front of a large crowd,” said Pam Hodgson, Principal at Calvin Coolidge Elementary School.

Eight fourth-graders were chosen from several Lansing schools to participate in the spelling bee. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

A spelling bee for everyone

The Lansing Area Spelling Bee started in the early 1990s.

Hodgson says the spelling bee was hosted at Oak Glen Elementary School in the past, but Coolidge began hosting the event in the early 2000s. The spelling bee was originally reserved for District 158 schools but expanded to include all Lansing elementary schools in 2017.

“It has always been something that has drawn families and community members as well and it is a great way to get our area together for a spelling bee for all,” said Dave Kostopoulos, Executive Director of Curriculum and Assessment for District 158.

Kostopoulos said the competition has evolved over the years and Coolidge does a great job hosting it.

The fifth-grade participants included two students from Heritage Middle making the total participants 10. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Recapping the Lansing Spelling Bee

This year, the three judges were Samantha Termunde, a third-grade teacher at Reavis; Kelly Spila, a reading specialist at Coolidge; and Dr. Brittany Hoskin, a fifth-grade reading teacher at Heritage.

The evening began with Principal Hodgson giving some encouraging words to the spellers and their families.

“Every child deserves to be acknowledged for their efforts tonight,” she said.

Kelly Spila came to the podium to state the procedures of the evening before the official spelling bee began. Students were required to correctly spell two words in a row to be awarded first place.

The fourth-grade portion of the competition lasted the longest as the last two spellers went over 15 intense rounds to find out who would be crowned the winner.

The first-, second-, and third-place winners for each class level received a trophy at the end of the contest. Each student received a certificate for their participation in the spelling bee.

Meet the champions

Third-grade winners:

  • 1st Place: Noah Ivie (Lansing Christian School)
  • 2nd Place: Isaac Diaz (Coolidge Elementary School)
  • 3rd Place: Emmaleigh Coleman (Reavis Elementary School)
Noah Ivie (left) won first place for the third-grade class level and Kaedin Ballard (right) was the first-place winner for fourth grade. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Fourth-grade winners:

  • 1st Place: Kaedin Ballard (Coolidge Elementary School)
  • 2nd Place: Jamari Thornton (Oak Glen Elementary School)
  • 3rd Place: London Burnett (Oak Glen Elementary School)
JaMaine Harris, Jr. won first place for the fifth-grade class level. (Photo provided)

Fifth-grade winners:

  • 1st Place: JaMaine Harris, Jr. (Coolidge Elementary School)
  • 2ng Place: Gia DiSilvestro (Heritage Middle School)
  • 3rd Place: Oluwashindara Avungbeto (Reavis Elementary School)
Lansing area teachers and administrators pose with the third-grade participants. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Lansing area teachers and administrators pose with the fourth-grade participants. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Lansing area teachers and administrators pose with the fifth-grade participants. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Calvin Coolidge Elementary School is located at 17845 Henry Street in Lansing.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.

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