This time, Polo student second to none
DIXON – Polo student Christopher Rademacher wrote a lot during a regional spelling bee Thursday. And he didn’t even have a pencil or pen.
The champion of the Lee-Ogle Regional Spelling Bee would use his finger to spell out words on the back of his laminated number identifier hanging around his neck.
“I started doing that this year,” the Aplington Middle School seventh-grader said during an interview afterward. “It’s a good technique. It lets me see the word.”
Christopher, who came in second last year, was one of 29 competitors in the spelling bee in the Dixon High School auditorium. The youngest was Aiden Znaniecki, a second-grader from Paw Paw Elementary School.
Christopher won with the word “altruism,” which he spelled without any hesitation.
“You’re going to Washington, D.C.,” said the bee’s moderator, Tom Wadsworth.
Coming in second was Caden Wiehle, a seventh-grader at Meridian Junior High School in Stillman Valley.
The third-place finisher was Rochelle Middle School seventh-grader Paige Myroth, who won the spelling bee the last 2 years. In fourth was Jake Bail, an eighth-grader at Ashton-Franklin Center Middle School.
The 2-hour spelling bee went through 165 words, more than last year’s 136.
After Christopher won, Wadsworth asked the champion if he knew all the words he had spelled. The boy said he did, but “there were a few I was a bit iffy on.”
Christopher, son of Chris and Paula Rademacher, said he did a lot of studying beforehand, taking a few tests each night.
Now, he’ll prepare for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in late May. He’s never been to the nation’s capital.
Among the prizes some of the top four winners will receive are a Kindle Touch, a $100 U.S. savings bond, Amazon.com gift certificates, Merriam-Webster dictionaries, online subscriptions to Encyclopedia Britannica, trophies and a book about the U.S. presidents.
Since 1977, 49 percent of the regional spelling bee winners have been eighth-graders, 26 percent seventh-graders and 23 percent sixth-graders. A fifth-grader won one year.
Since 1983, 53 percent of the contestants in spelling bees have been girls. Before Christopher won, 12 of the last 13 winners were girls.
Three-fourths of the winners have been on the stage before. Christopher had been there three times before.
The bee’s sponsors of the spelling bee are 1st National Bank of Amboy, the Lee-Ogle Regional Office of Education and Sauk Valley Media.