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Jason Hahn spells right on

A seventh-grader at Thompson Public School was right on the money Friday when he correctly spelled "pecuniary" to win the Grand Forks County Spelling Bee.

A seventh-grader at Thompson Public School was right on the money Friday when he correctly spelled "pecuniary" to win the Grand Forks County Spelling Bee.

After his win, Jason Hahn said he had never heard of the word, which means relating to money according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. He guessed.

"I pretty much guessed on half of the words," Hahn said. "It just kind of comes to me."

Eleven students in grades six through eight qualified to compete in Friday's spelling bee held at the School for the Blind in Grand Forks. Participants qualified by winning their school bee and earning high scores on a written test.

The first round of the bee was tough, just like the first word - "gristle". Six students were eliminated.

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One more round took the competition down to two, Hahn and last year's second place winner, Rose Marie Picklo, a seventh-grader at Grand Forks Schroeder Middle School. An avid reader, Picklo correctly spelled "gesundheit" to stay in the game.

The two went head to head for about five rounds until Picklo misspelled "antiphonal" in what seemed like an accident. "A-n-t-y, dangit," she said. "p-h-o-n-a-l."

Other words given to bee contestants included "sitzmark," a depression left in the snow made by a falling skier, "Anschluss," a political union, and "gymkhana," a contest featuring sports skills.

Both Hahn and Picklo will advance to the state spelling bee March 23 in Bismarck. The winner will go on to the national competition this spring in Washington, D.C.

Students who competed included third-place winner Elias Symons, seventh-grader at Northwood Public School; John Kang, seventh-grader at Grand Forks South Middle School; Nicholas Kerzman, sixth-grader at Thompson Public School; Taylor Sivertson, eighth-grader at Thompson; Kelsey Peterson, eighth-grader at Grand Forks Valley Middle School; Alyssa Meyer, seventh grader at Grand Forks Schroeder Middle School; Eden Volk, severnth-grader at South Middle School; Hannah Noyes, sixth-grade home-school student and Margarita Consing, sixth-grader at South Middle School.

Reach Ricker at (701) 780-1104, (800) 477-6572, ext. 104; or aricker@gfherald.com .

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