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Meet the 2019 I-KAN Regional Spelling Bee contestants

February 23, 2019

BOURBONNAIS UPPER GRADE CENTER

Bryan Aldridge • Eighth grade

Parents: Roxanne and Robert Aldridge

Personal achievements/interests: Travel soccer team, BUGC Spelling Bee, video games, playing ping-pong with dad

Goal: To be a professional soccer player

Winning word: Humdinger

ST. ANNE GRADE SCHOOL

Maya Anderson • Sixth grade

Parents: Eva and Keith Anderson

Personal achievements/interests: Basketball, volleyball, student council, band. community clean-up in St. Anne and Donovan, piano, baking, cooking, painting, doing hair, babysitting

Goal: To become a science technician

GRACE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

Camden Bernard • Eighth grade

Parents: Heidi and Nolan Bernard

Personal achievements/interests: Attends Immanuel Baptist Church, member of Grace Christian Academy Junior High basketball team, video games, working

Goal: To become a lawyer

Winning word: Gentlemen

MANTENO MIDDLE SCHOOL

Lily Cole • Seventh grade

Parents: Karen and Tom Cole

Personal achievements/interests: PARCC Awards, STEM programs, sixth grade track, saxophone, library, tech club, reading, drawing, scrapbooking, writing

Goal: Go to college, get a seventh and eighth grade PARCC Award, winning at least one spelling bee

BISHOP McNAMARA CATHOLIC SCHOOL (BOURBONNAIS SITE)

Olivia Contreras • Fifth grade

Parents: Laura and Jorge Contreras

Personal achievements/interests: Participant in several piano recitals, sings in choir, running, reading, basketball

Goal: To make it to nationals by eighth grade

Winning word: Electrolysis

KANKAKEE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Chloe Cunnington • Eighth grade

Parents: Dawn Landwehr and Tom Cunnington

Personal achievements/interests: Beta Club, Youth Group at Asbury United Methodist Church, food pantry volunteer, dance at Paula Aubry’s

Goal: Attend University of Illinois for medical school

Winning word: Rivulets

MILFORD GRADE SCHOOL

Jasmine Davis • Eighth grade

Parents: Robert and Barbara Davis

Personal achievements/interests: Scholastic Bowl, speech, volleyball, VFW Writing Contest, Student Council, High Honors; Principal’s Awards, art, reading, photography, writing, listening to music

Goal: Artist or something creative

Winning Word: Generalissimo

BISHOP McNAMARA CATHOLIC SCHOOL (BRADLEY SITE)

Walter John Krause • Sixth grade

Parents: Jill and Steve Krause

Personal achievements/interests: Conference swimmer, Bradley-Bourbonnais Swim Club; Gold Honor Roll; Fifth grade, 4.0 GPA; Altar server at St. Patrick’s Church; Hearts of Hope Youth Camp participant; Student Council member, fifth and sixth grade; Reading; Playing video games; Play writing

Goal: To be a genetic scientist

Winning word: Hibachi

MOMENCE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Britta Lindgren • Eight grade

Parents: Jodie and Bjorn Lindgren

Personal achievements/interests: National Junior Honor Society vice president; High honor roll; softball; basketball; Best Buddies; Math Team; Spelling Team; Church nursery worker, Worship Team member, teacher assistant, Youth Group; Teen Court

Goal: Attend college to be a pediatric nurse or teacher

Winning word: Prosciutto

KING MIDDLE SCHOOL

Tommie Lott • Sixth grade

Parents: Tommie and LaShaan Lott-Tate

Personal achievements/interests: Martial arts/karate, chess, clarinet, football, reading

Goal: To become a scientist or police officer

Winning word: Mulch

MONTESSORI FINE ARTS MAGNET

Elsa Martinez • Sixth grade

Parents: Elsa Calderon and Manuel Martinez

Personal achievements/interests: Plays clarinet in the band, Sunday School in St. Anne, church volunteer through Christmas caroling, giving gifts and poems, coloring and making bracelets

Goal: To go to college and possibly be a teacher, veterinarian, and/or help others

Winning word: Creatures

ST. GEORGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Isabella Mattox • Seventh grade

Parents: Judy and Shawn Mattox

Personal achievements/interests: Joffrey Academy of Dance Pre-Professional Division 2018; Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker 2018 season; Many dance scholarship and awards; School spelling bee champ two years in a row; babysitting my nephew

Goal: Tio be a professional dancer

Winning word: Humanitarian

BRADLEY CENTRAL SCHOOL

Quinn Meadows • Sixth grade

Parent: Angel Meadows

Personal achievements/interests: Baseball, soccer, student council, Scholastic Bowl, Kankakee Valley Theatre Association, math team, speech team, Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts, sports, musical theater, video games, Chicago Cubs

Goal: Get a degree in physics or medicine from Harvard or the University of Chicago

Winning word: Sumptuous

KENNEDY MIDDLE SCHOOL

Ethan Mendez • Fifth grade

Parents: Claudia Cabrera and Daniel Mendez

Personal achievements/interests: Video games and outdoors activities

Goal: To attend Olivet Nazarene University

Winning words: Alabaster and conservatory

LIMESTONE MIDDLE SCHOOL

Ava Meredith • Seventh grade

Parent: Ann and Shannon Meredith

Personal achievements/interests: Speech Team, Media Team, Tae Kwon Do, junior lector at church

Goal: Participate in Speech Team next year

Winning word: Flambeau

BISHOP McNAMARA CATHOLIC SCHOOL (KANKAKEE SITE)

Caroline Noe • Eighth grade

Parents: Claudia and Brian Noe

Personal achievements/interests: Girl Scouts, band, choir, Math Team, speech contest, Art Club, reading and art

Goal: To become a writer or artist

Winning Word: Ostentatious

ST. PAUL LUTHERAN SCHOOL

Jacob Rowe • Eighth grade

Parent: Kirsten and Rich Rowe

Personal achievements/interests: Black Belt in Taekwondo, alto sax in band, multiple school musicals and theatrical plays, church choir, band ensembles, reading, writing, trading cards/gaming

Goal: Attend Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School and pursue an education in engineering

Winning word: Paramedic

LORENZO R. SMITH SCHOOL

Tia Sykes • Sixth grade

Parents: Felecia and Timothy Sykes

Personal achievements/interests: Reading, volleyball, dancing

Goal: Math or reading teacher

Winning word: Discomfort

WATSEKA GLENN RAYMOND SCHOOL

Michael Warren, Jr. • Eighth grade

Parent: Brandi and Michael Warren, Sr.

Personal achievements/interests: St. Edmund’s Parish CCD classes; Science Club, baseball, basketball, football, track and field

Goal: Getting a job, finishing high school, trying for a college scholarship

Winning word: Balsam

SPELLING BEE PRONOUNCER

WILL REZBA retired from teaching speech and English at Herscher High School, where he also coached the speech team and directed the class plays for 34 years. He was also an adjunct professor of public speaking at Kankakee Community College. Rezba holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from McKendree College and a master’s degree in English Education from Olivet Nazarene University. He resides in Herscher with his wife, Tricia. He is looking forward to his 18th year of serving as pronouncer of the Kan-Will Spelling Bee.

JUDGES

MIKE DOWNEY graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1980, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University in 1985. He began working in the criminal justice system in Kankakee County as an Adult Probation Officer following graduation. In January of 1995 he was hired as the Chief of Corrections for the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office. He completed the 12-week Basic Police Training Academy in December of 1997. As the Chief of Corrections he was responsible for a growing jail population and was instrumental in the design of the new jail, the Jerome Combs Detention Center. Downey graduated from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in May of 2002. He graduated from the 10-week FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. In 2014 was appointed to the position of undersheriff and on May 10, 2016, was appointed as sheriff following Sheriff Bukowski’s retirement. He was elected to the position of sheriff in November 2016 to fulfill the remainder of Bukowski’s term and was elected to a four-year term in November of 2018.

PATTY HIGH is the Professional Development Administrator for the I-KAN Regional Office of Education. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education at Eastern Illinois University and received her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University. This is High’s 16th year in education. She was previously a special education teacher at Mannheim Middle School, Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, and Herscher High School. High’s position as the Professional Development Administrator for I-KAN Regional Office of Education allows her to provide professional learning opportunities to educators and schools districts in both Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. High and her husband, Alan, who is also in education, and their two children reside in Herscher.

FRANK PETKUNAS is assistant regional superintendent of Iroquois-Kankakee County schools. He has spent the last 18 years working in education. He began his teaching career at Peotone High School in 2000 as a biology and physical science teacher. In 2002, he joined the faculty at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School as a science teacher. In 2007, Petkunas became the science department chair at BBCHS. In July 2012, Petkunas accepted the position of assistant regional superintendent of schools for I-KAN. In this capacity, he provides support to school districts and educators in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties through the programs and services provided by the regional office of education. Petkunas and his wife, Sonya, have three grown sons. The couple currently resides in Limestone, and have lived in the Kankakee area their entire lives.

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