Pursell wins spelling bee
The third time was a charm for Asher Pursell.
The seventh grader at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School finished third in the Harrison County Spelling Bee as a fourth grader, and was eighth as a fifth grader. Monday night, he won it all at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Corydon.
Pursell, son of Allen and Tamara Pursell of Lanesville, defeated Dustin Stevens, an eighth grader at North Harrison Middle School, after the two went head-to-head through 10 rounds before Dustin misspelled the word chocolate. To win the championship, Asher, 13, spelled chocolate correctly plus the next word, vanilla.
Asher will now advance to the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee on March 20.
Asher said he thought the words were ‘fairly easy’ because he had studied a lot, even though pronouncer Pam Eisert, the principal at St. John’s Lutheran School, decided to increase the difficulty level a notch or two during the run-off between Asher and Dustin.
Asher said he reads a lot, especially fantasy fiction.
Dustin’s parents are Gary Stevens of Marengo and Stephanie Stevens of New Salisbury.
The judges for the contest were Susan Reich, a retired Jefferson County (Ky.) public school teacher; Betty Hayden, a retired Our Lady of Perpetual Help teacher, and Darrell Voelker, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County.
Jenna Ryan, a fifth grader at Lanesville Elementary School and daughter of the Rev. Richard and Cathy Ryan of Lanesville, came in third.
The other 10 contestants were:
Andrea Hall, eighth grade, South Central Junior-Senior High, who replaced seventh grader B. J. Cornett.
Devin Kitterman, eighth grade, Corydon Central Junior High School.
Kaitlin Malone, fifth grade, Corydon Intermediate School.
Amelia Alcorn, fourth grade, Heth-Washington Elementary School.
Dan Book, fourth grade, Morgan Elementary School.
Max Stonecipher, fourth grade, New Middletown Elementary School.
Amelia Robertson, fifth grade, North Harrison Upper Elementary School.
Eric Schmelz, seventh grade, St. John’s Lutheran School.
Travis Cunningham, sixth grade, St. Joseph School.
Sam Spond, sixth grade, South Central Elementary School.
Sandy Joseph, principal at the host school, said all the participants were winners. She said the success the students enjoyed in their own school bees and at the county level is a reflection of the hard work and interest by the students themselves, their teachers and their parents.