A girl took home the North Texas Regional Spelling Bee trophy for the first time since 2009 in the regional spelling bee Wednesday.
The TCU College of Education hosted the spelling bee Wednesday morning.
The top 26 spellers from 491 schools in 16 different counties gathered in the Brown-Lupton University Union for the event.
The contestants earned their spot in the bee by winning local competitions and then moving onto one of the 25 area spelling bees. The winners of the 25 area spelling bees then advanced to the regional.
One of those 25 area spelling bees had to crown two champions because the competition went too long and ran out of words for the contestants to spell.
There are normally 25 spellers in the regional, but this year there were 26.
Michelle Yakubek, 13, from the Harmony Science Academy won the regional competition and will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The winning word was ‘noblesse.’ The competition lasted 18 rounds.
Benjamin Benjadol, 13, from Central Junior High finished second in the contest for the fourth consecutive year.
Like many of the spellers, Benjadol displayed good sportsmanship despite not coming out on top.
Dr. Jan Lacina, coordinator of the spelling bee, was excited by the children’s display of sportsmanship and desire to participate in competition.
“I particularly enjoy seeing these kids experience competition and learning from the experience,” said Lacina. “Whether you win or end up missing a word or a letter, it’s a life learning experience.”
The competition takes months of planning according to Lacina.
Lacina has coordinated the event for the last five years and said it is the highlight of her year.
“We work all year long. We are the contact for 500 schools across North Texas,” said Lacina.
Alex Reid and Janiekka Colbert are two graduate assistants in the College of Education’s accelerated program who helped organize the competition. They handled day-to-day operations such as speaking with families.