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Competition spells success for top student and runner-up

It was the 11th round of the Lake County Spelling Bee and there was one word left for Clayton spelling bee winner and runner up Derequito of St. Paul’s Catholic School to spell that would win him the coveted title of 2018 Lake County Spelling Bee Champion. The room was quiet as he stood at the mic and said with confidence, “Dahlia, D-A-H-L-I-A. Dahlia.” The room erupted into applause and a smile crept across Derequito’s face as he stepped off the stage to accept his prize.


As the 2018 Lake County Spelling Bee champion, Derequito received a trophy and a $200 check from the Golden Triangle Kiwanis Club in conjunction with the Educational Foundation of Lake County. A $50 check went to the runner up, Aiden Shaw, a student at Seminole Springs Elementary. As Lake County Spelling Bee Champion, Derequito will go on to compete at the Orlando Sentinel Spelling Bee in March for another title.


In total, 27 students from schools in Lake County competed in this year’s spelling bee. Before entering the spelling bee, each student was provided with a list of words from that they used to prepare themselves. After studying, they competed in a spelling bee at their respective schools. The top spellers at each school moved on to compete in the 2018 Lake County Spelling Bee. Following 11 rounds of spelling words from Parfait to Epiphany, Clayton Derequito emerged as the winner.


“It was really surprising!” said Derequito after his win, “I got the study guide late so I only had, like, two weeks to prepare.” He added that he’s going in to the next competition with some nerves because “it’ll be much bigger,” but that he’s going to be ready.


The 2018 Lake County Spelling Bee was sponsored by The City of Eustis Facilities and Recreation Department, Golden Triangle Kiwanis Club, The Educational Foundation, Interstate Auction Services and Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill.