Fourth Grader Wins Mentor Public Schools Spelling Bee
Nathan Rolfes won with the word "caravan," will advance to County Bee
The Mentor Public Schools Spelling Bee was won by the youngest kid on the stage.
Fourth grade spelling champion Nathan Rolfes outlasted his fifth through eighth grade counterparts to be named the district champion Tuesday night at Memorial Middle School.
Even Nathan's mother, Karen Rolfes, was surprised by her son's success.
"He did practice a lot but you don't expect your fourth grader to win," she said. "There's a lot of smart kids up there."
When asked about his reaction to winning, Nathan said he was "astonished and happy."
The competition first winnowed away the eighth grade champion Eamon Bracken, seventh grade champion Devon Messner and sixth grade champion Nicole Jares. They fell to "squalid," "statistician" and "covetous," respectively.
Nathan and fifth grade spelling champion Diya Chakraborti -- both of Bellflower Elementary -- went head to head for five rounds.
Nathan finally pulled ahead after Diya stumbled on "succumb" and he spelled "monumental" and "caravan" for the win.
Districtwide champion Nathan will now compete in the Lake County spelling bee, whose winner will compete against the Geauga and Ashtabula county champs in the Tri-County Bee.
Last year's Mentor Schools champion Vishnu Nistala made it all the way to the National Bee in Washington D.C. and finished 22nd in the nation.