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Washington student worked hard for spelling honor

Competing in the Boone Winnebago Regional Spelling Bee is more than a test of nerves and a tolerance for sweaty palms. It’s a lot of hard work.

Here at the Rockford Public Schools, we’ve been blessed with top spellers two consecutive years. Last year, Kodai Speich of Washington Academy won the bee, earning a trip to Washington, D.C., and the honor of competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Speich, then a fifth grader, was among the youngest competitors at the regional bee.

Dr. Lori Fanello of the Regional Office of Education recognizes the 2015 top spellers, including Alex Ludington of Washington Academy (to the right of Fanello in a light blue shirt).

Dr. Lori Fanello of the Regional Office of Education recognizes the 2015 top spellers, including Alex Ludington of Washington Academy (to the right of Fanello in a light blue shirt).

This year, Alex Ludington, also of Washington Academy and a fifth grader, tied for third place. His teacher, Cheryl Metz, said of Alex:

Alex is an outstanding reader; he’s the kind of student you almost have to remove the books from his hands because he would spend every minute reading. He has a good memory. It only takes once or twice for him to see a word to have it become part of his vocabulary.

Washington first grade teacher Christine Flatt was Alex’s spelling coach. Alex was among 20 students in a spelling club Mrs. Flatt runs from November until the school qualifying bee for the regional competition.

Even though Alex is very animated and creative, Mrs. Metz said, he settled in to work hard with his coach.  After he won the Washington qualifier, he worked with Mrs. Flatt one-on-one several times a week, using the national Scripps website to learn word categories and recognize word patterns.

He also spent time at home to review and prepare.

After years of judging the regional spelling bee, I have come to expect excellent performances from RPS 205 students like Alex. From the judge’s table, it’s fun to watch the spellers as they silently decode the words, write in the air and realize gains from months of hard work. I won’t be surprised to see Alex Ludington back next year.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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