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Mackenzie Chiodi wins spelling bee

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Eighth-grader Mackenzie Chiodi took home first place in the Pequot Lakes Middle School Spelling Bee, winning by spelling “incarceration” correctly.

The spelling bee was hard-fought by all contestants Friday, Feb. 8, but the race for runner-up was especially lively. Keegan Severance and Kaitlyn Deneau battled it out through several rounds, often seeking to spell lengthy, obscure words.

In the end, eighth-grader Severance took home second place by spelling “dormition.”

Chiodi received a $75 gift certificate to Turtle Town Books & Gifts in Nisswa, and Severance received a $50 gift certificate.

Students competed not only for the district title but also grade level titles. Winners for each grade were: fifth grade, Shayna Schmidt; sixth grade, Lyssa Lawson; seventh grade, Deneau; and eighth grade, Marty Fitzer. Each grade-level champion received a $25 gift certificate to Turtle Town Books.

Chiodi and Severance will both compete at the Regional Spelling Bee in Brainerd on March 20.

Other spellers included fifth-graders Courtney Boller, Josie Grubb, Allison Miska and Greta Harmala, alternate; sixth-graders Dylan Mesenbrink, Christian Reedy and Brandon Wallin; seventh-graders Sebastian Kempka, Savannah Larson, Alexia Miller, Sam Scheuss (who was unable to attend) and Matt Sherman, alternate; and eighth-graders Caleb Olson and Alyssa Golden, alternate.