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Crown Point boy wins spelling bee, trip to nationals

Sean Ives seventh grader Trinity Lutheran School is congratulated by pronouncer Dr. Scott L. Simerlefor winning district spelling bee Wheeler

Sean Ives, a seventh grader at Trinity Lutheran School, is congratulated by pronouncer Dr. Scott L. Simerlein for winning the district spelling bee at Wheeler High School on Saturday, March 9, 2013. He wins an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Spelling Bee in May, among other prizes. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media

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The winners

First place – Sean Ives, 13, seventh grade, Trinity Lutheran School, Crown Point

Second place – Anisha Kondamuri, 14, eighth grade, Wilbur Wright Middle School, Munster

Third place – Dheven Unni, 12, seventh grade, Forest Ridge Academy, Schererville

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Updated: April 11, 2013 7:05AM



WHEELER — Sean Ives won a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Saturday by correctly spelling the word “efficacy.”

But Sean, 13, a seventh-grader at Trinity Lutheran School in Crown Point, said the word that gave him the most trouble during the bee was “echt,” a word of German origin that means true or genuine.

Still, he spelled it correctly while it left many adults scratching their heads, as did many of the words 19 third- through eighth-graders from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties had to get through for the bee, which has been sponsored by Kankakee Valley REMC for the past five years.

The utility will pay for Sean to compete in the national bee in late May in Washington, D.C. Sean also won the regional bee, for students in Lake and Porter counties, on Feb. 16.

“We studied a lot during the last three weeks but it was hard to remember all the words,” Sean said before detailing his strategy for the coming weeks. “We’re probably going to cut down on the words so I remember them.”

Sean, whose family recently moved from Michigan to Crown Point, participated in several bees in Michigan and said he enjoys competing. That’s a good thing, because he won a spot to compete in the state geography bee on April 5.

Mom Jodi Ives said she wants Sean to have balance while working toward the national bee, so while he will study and do the best he can — Merriam-Webster’s will be his study guide — he is more interested in geography.

“We’re going to attack it, but we’re not going to make it our world,” she said adding she was surprised he won both bees and is grateful for the gift he has.

Second-place winner Anisha Kondamuri, 14, an eighth-grader at Wilbur Wright Middle School in Munster, wished Sean luck as he moves forward.

The Dyer teen won’t be back for the bee next year because she’ll be too old, but third-place winner Dheven Unni, 12, a seventh-grader at Forest Ridge Academy in Schererville, already set his sights on returning.

“Hopefully,” the St. John boy said.



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