For the first time since 2020, La Crosse area students met face-to-face in West Salem on Thursday for the CESA-4 regional spelling bee.
The local CESA bee had been conducted remotely over the internet the last two years, because of COVID-19.
Out of a field of 22 students representing 12 area schools, five qualified for the Badger State Bee next month in Madison. The five finalists represent Aquinas, Holmen, Onalaska, and Providence Academy, and two of them also competed in Madison a year ago.
The CESA champion this year is Dean Teale from Holmen Middle School (pictured second from right), who correctly spelled “ramifications” to win the local title. The winner of the CESA-4 bee in 2022, Gowri Prakash of Onalaska, also placed in the top 5 and will go to state again on March 11th, along with another repeater from last year, Harmanpreet Virk of Holmen.
Rounding out the five local qualifiers are Helen Onyeabor of Aquinas Middle School and Grant Enockson from Providence Academy. The winner of the Badger Bee in Madison will compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. just after Memorial Day.