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Local students are earning their way into the Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee

February 7, 2018 GMT

Ludington fifth-grader Grayson Bentz grabbed his head and smiled with joy after correctly spelling “linoleum” Monday morning to end a tight head-to-head battle with fourth-grader Joseph Kline and claim the Foster Elementary School spelling bee crown.

With his win, Bentz qualified to compete in the 2018 Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Ludington Area School District’s Peterson Auditorium.

Fifth-grader Jasmine Gillis earned third place at the Foster Elementary School spelling bee — and second place among the school’s fifth-graders — to also earn a spot in the community spelling bee, which is open to area students in grades 5 through 8.

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Each year, the winner of the Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee earns an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., later in the spring to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Foster’s spelling bee included 12 fourth-graders and 14 fifth-graders.

On Monday afternoon, Mason County Central eighth-graders Shayla Leonard and Jacob Johnson battled head-to-head for the final 10 rounds of their middle school’s spelling bee before Leonard finally won this year’s eighth-grade spelling crown by outlasting Johnson.

With their finishes in the school spelling bee, Leonard and Johnson also qualified to participate in the Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee, where they will join the first- and second-place winners from grade levels at schools in the following local districts: Ludington, Mason County Central, Mason County Eastern, Pentwater, Hart, and Baldwin school districts, as well as Ludington Area Catholic School, Covenant Christian School and Gateway To Success Academy.

Spelling bees have also already been held at O.J. DeJonge Middle School and other local schools in preparation for the community spelling bee, with Mason County Eastern Elementary School scheduled to complete its bee Wednesday morning.

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Ludington Daily News print and eEditions.