By Emily Younker
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The winning word at the annual Joplin Globe spelling bee — “paladin” — was a word that Jaden Gallagher knew.
“I’ve read it in books before,” said the fifth-grader from Truman Elementary School in Nevada. “It has to do with a knight.”
Gallagher spelled the word correctly — after also correctly spelling “troglodyte” — to take first place in the spelling bee, which was held Monday morning at Central Christian Center in Joplin.
The second-place finisher was Silvio Venturella, a fourth-grader from Steadley Elementary School in Carthage. Third place went to Kelsey Kerrigan, a fifth-grader at Stapleton Elementary School in Joplin.
Nearly 80 fourth- through sixth-graders from local schools competed.
Gallagher said she was nervous throughout the bee, which lasted more than three hours. But spelling is something that comes easily to her, she said.
“I write stories all the time, and I want to become a writer,” she said.
Kerrigan, who had studied her word lists since February, said she was happy with her third-place finish. She said spelling is an important skill to learn.
“When you’re older, if you don’t know how to spell, it makes you look bad, but if you do, it makes you look good, and it helps you get the right message across,” she said.