Pike County student repeats as Kentucky State Spelling Bee champion

Posted on Mar 21, 2011
Emily Keaton, a sixth-grade student from Pike County, has successfully defended her reign as champion of the Kentucky Derby Festival State Spelling Bee sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau. Keaton locked up her second victory in as many years by correctly spelling “Ankylosaur” for the win on Saturday, March 19, at the PNC Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville.

For nearly three hours, 62 Kentucky and Southern Indiana public and private school students in fourth through eighth grades made their way to the center-stage microphone to spell 216 enormous words in this challenging competition. This is the 18th year that the Kentucky Derby Festival has produced the state spelling bee. Kentucky Farm Bureau has proudly supported the educational efforts behind the contest by sponsoring each of them since it began in 1994.

After winning the event, Keaton, the daughter of Andy and Jill Keaton, was presented with a U.S. Savings Bond valued at $10,000 upon maturity, a trophy, the latest edition of the Merriam Webster collegiate dictionary and a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Second place went to Priyanka Sheth, daughter of Nirav and Ami Sheth and a seventh-grade student from Warren County. Sheth, the 2009 state spelling bee champion, received a savings bond valued at $5,000, a trophy, dictionary and $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Rounding out the top five winners were: Madison Harris from Carter County in third, Yue Zhang from Jefferson County Public Schools finishing fourth, and Gavin Mullins from Scott County taking fifth. Harris, the daughter of Timothy and Jennifer Harris, was presented with a $3,000 savings bond, trophy and $25 Amazon.com gift card. Zhang, son of Qunwei Zhang and Yigun Mo, received a $1,500 savings bond and a trophy. Mullins, the son of Brian and Stephanie Mullins, received a $1,000 savings bond and a trophy.

Kentucky Farm Bureau president Mark Haney congratulated the winning students and all who competed.

“It continues to be a great pleasure for Kentucky Farm Bureau to support the educational experiences fostered through the state spelling bee,” he said. “Not only does this event allow the participant’s and the school’s academic achievements to be highlighted, but it also encourages communities across the state to honor those students who have displayed an exceptional ability in the classroom.”

Photo available online: To download the photo accompanying this story, click here.

Cutline: Emily Keaton of Pike County received the 2011 Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee first place trophy from Ja Hillebrand, 2011 KDF Chairman (left), B. Todd Bright, Communication Director at Kentucky Farm Bureau (center right), and Rip Hatfield, KDF Foundation Chairman-elect (right).

 

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