Sam Legere, an eighth-grader at St. Margaret Mary School, won the Archdiocese of Louisville District Spelling Bee after a four-round stand-off with runner-up Lily Bibelhauser, an eighth-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
He won the contest, held Feb. 4 at the Flaget Center, by correctly spelling “aphasia.” The word is a noun that means the loss of ability to understand or express speech as a result of brain damage.
Thirty students in fourth through eighth grade took part in the district bee. The students, who had won their school bees, squared-off in 13 rounds of play before the winner was decided.
“You knew it was going to be a tough contest when the first round featured words as diverse, rare and difficult as ‘cognate’ and ‘snooker.’ Both of those words were spelled correctly, though,” said Tosh Scheps, curriculum and instruction coordinator for the archdiocese Catholic Schools Office.
“In fact, despite the judges’ spelling list packed with words that even the average high schooler would struggle to recall a time that he or she had heard that word before, students throughout the archdiocese managed to get through 13 rounds total before a winner was finally decided,” Scheps said.
Legere will go on to represent the archdiocese at the Kentucky Derby 2020 Ford Motor Company state competition on March 14 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.