Thursday, August 6, 2020
They competed against one another but they were best of friends after the 28th Annual Blooming Prairie District Spelling Bee went into the history books. Giving one another high fives are Abby Smith (second) at left and Jaylee Schleicher (first), right.

Pacelli student becomes champion speller

Twelve spellers (six from each Regional Spelling Bee) competed in the Final Spelling Bee on Feb. 27 at the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester. 

These 12 students were narrowed down from 75 students from 36 districts in Southeast Minnesota who participated in the two Regional Spelling Bees on Feb. 11, coordinated by the Southeast Service Cooperative.

Neha Thawani Nanda, an eighth grade student from Pacelli Catholic Schools in Austin was declared the champion after correctly spelling the word "PATRONAGE."

Two winners in the Blooming Prairie District Spelling Bee competed in the first round of the Southeast Service Cooperative Regional Spelling Contest. They were seventh grader Jaylee Schleicher and eighth grader Abby Smith. They did not advance after the first round of the regional contest.

Twenty-four students in grades 5-8 participated in the popular BP contest.

Nanda has been working hard to be the champion since fourth grade, said Jeanette Hauschildt, former elementary school secretary for 24 years, who has coordinated the spelling bee in Blooming Prairie the past five years.

The champion now advances to the 92nd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 26–June 1. 

She won a trip (for herself and one adult) to Washington, D.C. (donated by Southeast Service Cooperative). She also received a first-place trophy, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (provided by Scripps National Spelling Bee), 2019 United States Mint Proof Set (The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award from Scripps), a subscription to Britannica Online Premium and Valerie’s Spelling Bee Supplement Booklet.

Shreemayi Undavalli, a seventh grade student from St. Mary’s Owatonna, was the first runner-up. Undavalli received a trophy, and a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Valerie’s Spelling Bee Supplement Booklet, and a $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Card.

Josie Koenigs, an eighth grade student from Chatfield, was the 2nd Runner-up. She received a trophy, Valerie’s Spelling Bee Supplement Booklet, and a $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card.

Other students participating in the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee were:

Johanna Herfindahl-Quint, Kasson-Mantorville 6

Alex Howard, Lake City 8

Ellie Anderson, Lanesboro 7

Allie Hoffert, Northfield 7

Robby Curtiss, Plainview‐Elgin‐Millville 8

Lillie Van Buskirk, Rochester Catholic 5

Isha Kapoor, Rochester Friedell 7

Isaac Nerstad, Spring Grove 7

Mira Paul, St. Charles 6

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent / ADvantage
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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