Fourth-grader ‘erupts’ to top of W-G spelling bee

WAYNESFIELD — Winning the school spelling bee once during an academic career would be quite an accomplishment.

Graham Knerr, 9, of Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools, says he would like to go for a clean sweep.

Knerr, a fourth-grader, knocked out 19 other students to win the Waynesfield-Goshen School spelling bee and to qualify for the regional competition to be held in Lima March 23.

He won the competition by first spelling “humility,” and then following it up by spelling “eruption” to take home the title.

The son of Danielle and Jacoby Knerr has two siblings, 12-year-old sister, Veda, and a 6-year-old brother, Carson.

Two kids were selected from each class to participate in the event. Knerr said his selection from his class likely had a lot to do with his scores on his spelling tests in Lois Baumgardner’s class.

“I usually get 105,” Knerr said. “We have a bonus word worth five points.”

Spelling is not the only thing Knerr excels in academically. He is carrying a straight “A” average so far this school year.

Knerr said his family has chipped in and is helping him prepare for the regional competition. He made flashcards and practices whenever he has a free moment. His parents will read the words from the flashcards while Graham attempts to spell them.

“It just depends whenever we have free time,” Knerr said.

Knerr has now set a pair of lofty goals for himself. He said he would like to place at least third in the regional competition, and he would like to complete a sweep of the spelling bee at his home school through eighth grade.

“It will be very difficult,” Knerr said, “but it is possible.”

Knerr said he enjoyed being a role model for younger kids and showing they can compete against older kids.

He said when he becomes an adult, he has considered going into the engineering field. He would also like to be a professional snowboarder or waterskier.