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Eagle Ridge student is new district spelling champ

Yana Khetiya practiced an hour a day for a couple of weeks to prepare for the 33rd annual Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Spelling Bee on Dec. 5.

It paid off! The Eagle Ridge Middle School eighth grader emerged as the champion from among the 28 best spellers from around the district and took home the big trophy. The event went about 15 rounds with “competition" as the winning word.  

This was Yana’s second trip to the district bee. Two years ago, as a sixth grader from Harriet Bishop Elementary, she was disappointed with her performance. “I was nervous, and messed up spelling the word ‘forty’ which I knew,” she said.

But it was a different story this year. “I was not nervous this time because I’d been through it before and I had prepared for it,” said Yana.

“Yana is a positive leader at Eagle Ridge,” says Principal Don Leake. “She works hard, has a great attitude and is a talented student.”

Yana is good with words and loves to read, especially mythology and dystopian novels. She recently completed the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Other favorite authors are J. K. Rowling and Rick Riordan.

Math is her favorite subject. “Because wherever you go in the world, it will be the same, with the same symbols and concepts,” said Yana.

Her future plans include becoming a medical doctor, specifically a cardiologist or neurologist.

Joey Vollmers, a 7th grader from St. John’s School, was the runner up in the District 191 spelling bee.

The spelling bee was recorded and will be shown on Educational Channel 18 and on the district’s website at

Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 14:17