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home : news : local   January 25, 2015

2/16/2014 4:55:00 PM
Eighth-grader makes Wallace Grade School repeat spelling champ


Drew Klatt, an eighth-grader from Wallace Grade School in rural Ottawa, smiles after winning the 54th annual La Salle County Spelling Bee Saturday which was held in the Ottawa Township High School auditorium. Klatt became the second student in a row from Wallace to win the spelling contest.
+ click to enlarge
Drew Klatt, an eighth-grader from Wallace Grade School in rural Ottawa, smiles after winning the 54th annual La Salle County Spelling Bee Saturday which was held in the Ottawa Township High School auditorium. Klatt became the second student in a row from Wallace to win the spelling contest.
Klatt (right) and second-place winner Jacob Jagiella, an eighth-grader from Peru Catholic, hold up their prizes after the spelling bee. Both beat out 30 other students from schools across La Salle County.NewsTribune photos/ Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
+ click to enlarge
Klatt (right) and second-place winner Jacob Jagiella, an eighth-grader from Peru Catholic, hold up their prizes after the spelling bee. Both beat out 30 other students from schools across La Salle County.

NewsTribune photos/ Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
School district winners included:

Alex Cruz, Allen-Otter Creek, Ransom; Jacob Wood, Central Intermediate, Ottawa; David Zuniga, Deer Park; Ashley Martorano, Dimmick; Skylar Orvis, Earlville; Jessie Schaumberg, Grand Ridge; James Ewing, Harding; Hunter Buck, Holy Family, Oglesby; Julia Niles, Leland; Kelly Innis, Lincoln Jr. High, La Salle; Hunter Witzman, Lostant; Erin Smith, Marquette Academy, Ottawa; Evan Prusynski, Marseilles; Samantha Straith, Milton Pope School, rural Marseilles; Angelique Banker and Kevin Cuevas, Northbrook, Mendota; Simon Brolley, Olivia Wright and Abhi Patel, Parkside Middle School, Peru; Jacob Jagiella, Peru Catholic; Kaed Wisneski, Rutland Elementary; Ben Vogel, St. Michael the Archangel, Streator; Dyland Leasure, Seneca; Amanda Dettloff, Serena; Bridget Carter and Jaken Hicks, Shepherd Elementary, Ottawa; Trinity Davenport, Sheridan; Justin Greenwalt, Tonica; Christopher Sanchez, Trinity Catholic Academy, La Salle; Drew Klatt, Wallace Elementary; Katie Stoneking, Waltham Elementary, Utica; and Taylor Cullinan, Washington Jr. High, Oglesby.

Alternates were:

Bobby Ruder, Allen-Otter Creek; Zach Nelson, Ottawa Central; Morgan Pearlman, Deer Park; Alex Ellerbrock, Dimmick; Alyssa Leal, Earlville; Mitchell Vickers, Grand Ridge; Trace Berggren, Harding; Brayden Schmitz, Holy Family, Oglesby; Evan Aviles, Leland; Max Williams, La Salle Lincoln; Ben Tran, Lostant; John Thompson, Marquette Academy; Karlee Shaver, Marseilles; Grace Flatness, Milton Pope School; Katie Beetz and Bianca Rodriguez, Mendota Northbrook; Taylor Donnell and Melanie Brady, Peru Parkside; Mary Kate Jagiella, Peru Catholic; Torini Wick, Rutland; Anna Yanek, St. Michael, Streator; Spencer Williams, Seneca; Hannah Purlee, Serena; Matt Scaman and Derrick Hobbs, Shephered; Chelsey Soli, Sheridan; Camille Carlson, Tonica; Peter Sampson, Trinity Catholic, La Salle; Andrew John Hancock, Wallace; Emma Mertes, Waltham; Reid Tomasson, Oglesby.

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter



Babushka: a usually triangularly folded kerchief for the head. That is the word eighth-grader Drew Klatt from Wallace Grade School north of Ottawa had to spell to win the 54th annual La Salle County Spelling Bee on Saturday in the Ottawa Township High School auditorium.

Klatt became the second winner in a row from Wallace, with last year's winner being Ram Koganti.

When asked what is happening at Wallace to produce such good spellers, Klatt responded that his mother told him, "being smart is half the job. You have to work hard too."

"I'm so proud," said Mary Affrunti, Klatt's mother.

"I was nervous for him," said his father Chad Klatt about watching Klatt during the spelling bee.

The two finalists, Klatt and eighth-grader Jacob Jagiella of Peru Catholic, were both tapping their feet and fidgeting before the start of the ninth round, knowing one of them could soon be the winner. After a couple more rounds with no errors, Jagiella finally made a mistake in the 12th round to allow Klatt to spell his winning word.

Klatt received a first-place plaque, a $100 gift certificate to the Book Mouse in Ottawa and a $200 cash prize provided by the William Ieuter Trust. Jagiella also received a plaque, a $100 Book Mouse gift certificate and $100 from the trust for his second-place finish.

The pair beat out 30 other students from different school districts across La Salle County. Each participant received a trophy as the winner of their school spelling bee.

Wallace will receive the Stretch Miller Memorial Spelling Bee traveling plaque which will have Klatt's name engraved on it as the 2014 winner. The traveling plaque is displayed at the school of the winner for one year.

Klatt also will have the opportunity to compete in the finals at 9 a.m. March 21 in Peoria at the WEEK-TV Studios.












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