BY OLIVIA COBISKEY
If you use Random Houses Webster's Bad Speller's Dictionary, then you might want to catch the spelling bee at Dixon High School Thursday and watch as 32 students from Lee and Ogle counties try to bewitch the English language and win a place spot at the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The national event is like Mecca for these students, all winners of elementary school contests in grades three through eight.
The winner will receive a "Webster's Third New International Dictionary," $100 U.S. savings bond, a one-year online subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica and an all-expense-paid trip to D.C.
The second-place winner will receive an MP3 player, the Encyclopedia Britannica subscription and a dictionary; the third-place winner will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate and the Encyclopedia Britannica subscription, and the fourth-place winner will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate.
All participants will receive a 2007 World Almanac & Book of Facts and a trophy.
The regional bee is sponsored by the Dixon Telegraph, First National Bank in Amboy and the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education.
The national bee, administered by The E.W. Scripps Co., is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion, with 268 sponsors in the United States, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and American Samoa.
The first national spelling bee, sponsored by the Louisville Courier-Journal, was held in 1925 with nine contestants. Scripps assumed sponsorship in 1941. There were no spelling bees from 1943 to 1945. Co-champions were declared in 1950, 1957 and 1962. Of the 82 champions, 43 were girls, 39 were.
Last year's champion, Kerry Close from New Jersey, correctly spelled "Ursprache," from the German root for ancestral language, for the victory.
There have been two spelling champions from Illinois. In 1931, Ward Randall from White Hall spelled "foulard." In 1985, Balu Natarajan from Chicago spelled "milieu."
Reach Olivia Cobiskey at (815) 284-2222 or (800) 798-4085, ext. 535.
The 79th annual Scripps Regional Spelling Bee is 10 a.m. Thursday in the Dixon High School auditorium. The winner will advance to the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 30-31.
The Lee and Ogle County participants are:
Mary Reglin, Amboy Central; Kylie Castle, Amboy Junior High; Ryan Nance-Donaldson, Aplington Middle School; Jake Chapman, Ashton-Franklin Center Middle School; Kaltrina Kaberovska, Black Hawk Junior High; Magan Twardowski, Byron Middle School; Cory Spratt, Centennial; Alex Escobar, Central Elementary; Tasha Mohler, Creston Elementary; Krystal O'Rourke, Forreston Grade School; Noelina Rissman, Forreston Middle School; Caidin Kloepping, German Valley Grade School; Katelyn Voss, who is home-schooled; Matthew Arneson, Jefferson School in Dixon; Stephanie Tepinski, Kings Elementary; Ahllam Khattab, Lincoln Elementary in Rochelle; Lauren Turffs, Lincoln School in Dixon; Christian Bailey, May Elementary; Hunter Winstead, Meridian Junior High; Kaylie Flynn, Monroe Center Grade School; Alexandra DeVries, Nelson Elementary; Jacob Kleveland, Oregon Elementary - Etnyre; John Hoelzer, Paw Paw Elementary; Levi Hensley, Paw Paw Junior High; Peter Balser, Reagan Middle School; Alex Prusator, Rochelle Middle School; Bridget Gile, St. Anne School; Alex Knack, St. Mary School; Charlie Duval, St. Paul Lutheran School; Cory Ellis, Steward School; and Emily Miller, Tilton School.