After 19 rounds of grueling competition last Saturday, Christianne Abella, an eighth-grader from Konawaena Middle School, took the aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee crown.
Abella and her chaperone will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Hawaii in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. The national bee is televised live on ESPN.
This is the second time in three years the winner of the state bee was a Konawaena Middle student.
Abella is also the first girl to win the state bee in four years, spelling the word “plangency” correctly to win the top prize.
Plangency is “the quality of a loud, resounding sound.”
“Each year, we are amazed by the knowledge and skill of the spelling bee contestants,” said Susan Eichor, president of aio. “On behalf of the aio family of companies and our community partners, we applaud each student for their hard work and dedication, and everyone who helped make this competition a success. We’d like congratulate Christianne on becoming this year’s aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee champion and wish her the best of luck at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.”
Abella also received a perpetual trophy to display at Konawaena Middle, a Hawaii State Champion Trophy, an unabridged Webster’s International Dictionary, a 2014 United States Mint Proof Set and a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Online.
The state bee’s runner-up was Hope Kudo, another eighth-grader from Hawaii Island, who represented Kealakehe Intermediate School. She and Abella were this year’s district co-champions.
This year, a total of 92 schools participated in seven district bees across the state. The top two spellers in each district advanced to the final competition, which aired live on PBS Hawaii.
There were 14 participants in grades 4-8 at the state bee. All of these finalists received a SWAG (“Spelling Winners Are Great!”) bag filled with goodies from generous community sponsors.
This is the fourth year the competition was coordinated by aio Foundation, with support from its community partners.
The state bee will re-air at 1 p.m. Saturday on PBS Hawaii.