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Tuesday March 3, 2015 8:53 PM
Two Westerville middle school students have qualified for the Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication Region II final local spelling bee on March 14.
Aishu Ilangovan of Genoa Middle School and Katie Graves of Heritage Middle School will compete against 52 students at the university's Baker University Student Center in Athens.
To qualify, spellers must win their local school spelling bee and attain a score of at least 32 in an online test.
Debbie Pellington, gifted facilitator at Heritage and Genoa, and Kristine Konik, Heritage's media specialist, coordinated the Heritage middle school spelling bee this year.
In December, students completed a written spelling test in their language arts class and the top speller in every class became eligible to compete in the school spelling bee.
Graves, an eighth-grader competed against peers in her grade level and then went on to face off against sixth- and seventh-grade winners at Heritage.
In all, she went through 20 rounds before she was declared the school's winner.
"I admit for the first round of the school spelling bee, I didn't study. I've never done any other spelling bees. This was my first," Graves said.
"I love to read and I think that has helped me become a better speller," she said.
Now that she's going on to the regional bee -- where she will face students from Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Madison and Pickaway counties -- she's starting to buckle down and study more.
"I have been studying the big word list that Scripps provided for the regional bee," she said. "I'm nervous about the regional event. Not about going to Ohio University, just about the actual spelling bee part."
Graves said her mom, dad and sister will accompany her to OU for the event to help ease her nerves.
Pellington and Konik supplied Graves with the materials needed to study for the bee.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee seeks to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.
The bee is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the E.W. Scripps Co., with local funding provided through The Columbus Dispatch.