HOWLAND - Thirteen-year-old Elias Kondolios said the first thing he thought when he was given the word ''sotto voce'' to spell correctly to win the Trumbull County Spelling Bee was he was glad he studied.
The Howland Middle School eighth grader competed Wednesday along with 35 other public and parochial school students in the bee sponsored by the Trumbull County Educational Service Center.
Kondolios said he credits his parents with helping him prepare.
Elias Kondolios, an eighth-grader from Howland Middle School, left, won the Trumbull County Spelling Bee held Wednesday at Liberty High School. At right is Daniel Campbell, a seventh-grader at Lincoln PK-8 in Warren, who was first runner-up.
Photo by Bob Coupland
''My mom helped me prepare for this," he said. "She was my coach. I feel gifted to be able to spell.''
The winning word ''sotto voce'' is an Italian word meaning ''soft spoken,'' when someone intentionally lowers the volume of one's voice for emphasis.
''When I heard that word, I thanked God I had practiced,'' Kondolios said.
First runner-up Daniel Campbell, 13, a seventh-grader at Lincoln K-8 School in Warren, also credits practice and help from his mother, Kathy.
''I studied the words with her,'' he said.
Jaclyn Rausch, gifted coordinator at TCECS and event pronouncer, said the bee is one more chance for all the Trumbull County school spelling bee winners to advance to their local qualifying bee.
''This gives them another opportunity to practice and prepare for the next spelling bee,'' she said.
Kondolios and Campbell, along with many of the other spellers, will next advance to the Tribune Chronicle Bee on March 10 at LaBrae High School. The winner there advances to the National Spelling Bee in May.
Also among the top five finishers in the bee were Mallory Barkley of Lincoln PK-8 in Warren, Rebekah Stanhope of Joseph Badger Middle, Parker Paniagua of Champion Central, and Riki Kaiser of Mespo Elementary.