Perpetual, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “continuing forever” or “everlasting.”
But on Tuesday night at the Winona Middle School Auditorium, the word “perpetual” brought about an ending.
Brooke Cherny, a seventh-grader at Winona Middle School, correctly spelled p-e-r-p-e-t-u-a-l to win the Winona Area Public Schools District Spelling Bee after an eight-round back-and-forth battle with second-place finisher Jamya Harvey, a sixth-grader.
Hadyn Brown, a sixth-grader, placed third.
A total of 15 students competed in the spelling bee, and after eight rounds, Cherny, Harvey and Brown remained. In the 10th round, “commotion” eliminated one student, leaving Cherny and Harvey.
In the final round, ancient was misspelled, surmised was spelled correctly, and then perpetual was the word that Cherny spelled correctly to win the spelling bee.
Competitors in the spelling bee were selected by WMS language arts teachers in a variety of ways. Students in grades 5-8 are eligible to participate. The top three finishers advance from the district spelling bee to the Southeast Minnesota Regional Preliminary Spelling Bee in Rochester in February. From that bee, a group of students will be selected to compete in the Southeast Minnesota Regional Final Spelling Bee, and then one student will be selected to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Terri Spratz and Eileen Dahlin helped before the bee, and Jen Snook was a judge. Barrie Schank was the pronouncer and had the help of two National Honor Society students.
The event is organized by music teacher Jaime Hanratty.