b'Local StudentBecomesChampion SpellerLucas Jackowski knows how to nictitateBY ELLEN DONKERL ucasJackowskisbraincon- hasMs.YouTube. To qualify for Jeffersons, he took tains words that most adultstwo spelling tests, placing first in his class. haveneverheardof.HecanThis win allowed him to compete against the spellthem,too.Nevermindother top spellers in the school on February thathedoubtshellusemany5. But now he had to study a list of words pro-of them in normal conversation.vided by Scripps450 in all. Gaining this verbal knowledgeHis diligence paid off and Lucas won handily, been worthwhile, enabling this fourth grader to real- correctly spelling presidential. His schoolmates in ize success leading up to the Scripps National SpellingBialer and Mrs. McMahons class celebrated by Bee. giving him a group hug. According to his parents, Dana Kaban and Walter Jack- This win meant that Lucas and another Jefferson student, owski, Lucas was an early reader and spelling just came naturally.alongwithtwowinnersfromeachofthedistrictselementary So when he saw a flyer about participating in Jefferson Schools spellingschools, could compete on March 7 at the Essex County Spelling Bee bee for grades 3 through 5 this past winter, he jumped at the chance. Championship sponsored by the Sidelines and Stages Foundation in Newark.This will be the first time Jefferson School has participated in the ScrippsAnd thats when things got serious: Lucas now had just one month to memo-National Spelling Bee. But this iconic scholastic competition has a long history,rize the Words of the Champions list containing more than 4,000 words com-having begun in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a spellingprised of three levels. Dana says, The challenge of the level-3 words was that we bee as part of their literacy efforts. Today, 95 years later, it reaches 11 milliondidnt know how to pronounce many of themso I spent many hours looking students each year. up the words to write them down phonetically to aid in his studying. Oth-Lucas was already familiar with spelling bees as he had watched some oners helped, too, including Jeffersons reading specialist, Mrs. Tsioni, who pulled 18/ matters magazine / spring 2020'