Brandy Mayo listens to the pronouncer repeat a word. JB

Brandy Mayo outlasts Hahn to win Skagway Spelling Bee
For the third straight year, a primary grade student has won the Skagway Spelling Bee, and it came down to a duo between fifth and sixth graders.
Fifth grader Brandy Mayo won the bee, after getting a second chance. Facing sixth grader Paige Hahn in the next to last round, Mayo started off by misspelling “holograph,” (with a “y” instead of an “o”), but she was not out of the competition.
The rules state that the winner must spell two words correctly in the final round. Hahn spelled “plague” correctly, but then left the “u” out of aquatic.
This set up another round, and Mayo spelled “suburban” correctly, and Hahn then misspelled “chisel” with a couple of “z’s” in the middle. For her final word, Mayo nailed “barracks” and will be off to Anchorage with her dad, Ken, next month to attend the state competition.
Hahn and Mayo slapped each other’s fists after the competition.
Mayo said she does well on spelling tests but studied for just three nights prior to the local competition. She received some help from classmate Bryce Jones earlier in the day, and was grateful for the second chance.
“I thought I was done,” she said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to win.”

FINAL FOUR: From left, Brian Beckener, Elise Doland, Paige Hahn, and Brandy Mayo. JB

Twenty spellers started the competition, and eight went out in the first round. Then several spellers lasted another three rounds until the words got harder. The final four also included two other sixth graders, Brian Beckner and 2002 champion Elise Doland. They both went out in the seventh round when the words got even harder.
The top four received ribbons made by Jean Worley. Third place Doland and second place Hahn also received $50 U.S. savings bonds, and winner Mayo took home a $100 savings bond. Elementary teacher Rex Kilburn, who has coordinated the Spelling Bee for the last few years, thanked pronouncer Dottie Demark, and judges Debbie Sanders, Larry Ricklefs, and Tim Steidel.
It will be fifth grader Mayo’s first trip to Anchorage.
“You are so hot!” exclaimed her mom, Tina, talking about her daughter’s spelling, and the fact that she competed with her jacket on under the stage lights. –JB