Fifth-grader Jayden Rettinger overcame the competition letter by letter and claimed the Haines School Spelling Bee crown last week for the second consecutive year.
Rettinger, 10, clinched his victory with correct spellings of “incoherently” and “innovator” during the Feb. 8 competition.
The only word that Rettinger struggled with during the nine rounds of competition was “arrest,” a fact both he and his mother found ironic since dad Jason Rettinger is a police officer.
Pronouncer Mark Fontenot used the word in a sentence, but did not use it in the sense of “to take into custody.”
“They used it in a sentence that wasn’t a normal usage. So I was wondering about that, too, if that would sound like maybe it was a homonym to him,” Jessica Rettinger said.
Jessica attributed much of her son’s spelling success to his voracious reading, but the fifth-grader said it was all about studying.
“What helps me is I write them all down, and then I can know how they’re spelled. I look at the list and then I write them down on a piece of paper; it helps me get the words into my mind. I don’t think it has to do with my reading,” Jayden said.
Sixth-grader Elena Saunders finished in second place and fourth-grader Lydia Andriesen placed third. Saunders misspelled “elaborative,” while Andriesen misspelled “provincial.”
Some misspelled words that knocked out the other seven competitors included “wrap,” “cache,” “camera,” “pleasant,” “calendar,” “purification” and “covetous.”
Rettinger, who is homeschooled, will head to Anchorage in March to compete in the Alaska State Spelling Bee.
As longtime sponsor Haines American Legion Women’s Auxiliary can no longer afford to sponsor the trip, the Rettingers will be paying their own way.
The family will hold a spaghetti feed and auction to raise funds for the trip March 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.