Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Parkway speller takes second in marathon bee
By Tom Stankard
ROCKFORD - Parkway Middle School sixth-grader Aaron Cron, 12, finished in second place at the fifth annual Lima Regional Spelling bee Saturday, advancing further than any previous Panther.
After battling 39 rounds with Sidney Holy Angels Catholic School seventh-grader Adith Joshua George, Cron said the judges ran out of words on their list. So they turned to another source. That's when George misspelled a word.
The judges then realized they may have given Cron an advantage through the switch, so they offered George a different word, which he spelled correctly.
Watching from the stands, Cron's mom, Keri Cron, said she was nervous because she wanted her son to win.
Cron, who said he thought he wouldn't last so long, then misspelled the word "tetragrammaton," which is the Hebrew name of God transliterated in four letters as YHWH or JHVH and articulated as Yahweh or Jehovah.
This gave George a chance to win. He successfully spelled "Zwinglian" and then "chiavetta" to claim the championship. He took first place among 48 other children from six counties and earned a spot at the national championship in Washington, D.C., in May.
Parkway Middle School Language Arts teacher Ashleigh Clay said Cron was the first Parkway student to be this successful.
Prior to competing in Lima, Cron won the Parkway Middle School spelling bee and then placed fourth in the county bee at Wright State University-Lake Campus, which qualified him to compete on the regional level.
Of all her students, Clay said she knew Cron would be the only one capable of competing that well.
To prepare, Cron said Clay handed him the list of words the judges used, and he kept looking it over "for a very long time" front to back every night for about three months.
Looking back, he said competing was a "pretty cool experience," and he eagerly awaits next year's spelling bee.
"I like to win. It feels good," he said.
Keri Cron said she is "very, very proud" of her son. As a reward for placing second, Aaron Cron won a $25 Amazon gift card. He said he used it to buy a dictionary to learn more words.