Rexen and David Aleman of Kings Mountain Intermediate were the final two contestants after four rounds of spelling. The audience was spellbound as the two continued five more rounds until David misspelled luau. Rexen then went on to spell hosta to close out the 9th round. He was then one word away from winning the event. When Spelling Bee Caller Gail McKillop announced the final word tamale, a huge smile came across Rexen's face, and he gleamed with confidence. He leaned into the microphone and spelled the word correctly to become Cleveland County 2015 Spelling Bee champion.
As the grand champion, Rexen will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Spelling Bee, May 24-29 for himself and an adult. Other prizes included a dictionary and a year’s subscription to an on-line encyclopedia.
“I am proud and very happy,” said Rexen Venevong.
To recognize their achievement, all participants in the bee received prizes from The Star’s Newspaper in Education program and a Martha Mason Award from the CCS Educational Foundation. The Mason Award includes a $50 cash prize and was initiated by Yeeva Cheng, a three-time Star Spelling bee winner herself, to recognize Miss Mason’s determination and perseverance.
Other participants, all spelling champions from their schools, were:
A taped broadcast of the spelling bee will be shown later on Cleveland Community College’s C19-TV.
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