Grace Deck wins spelling bee, wish sweepstakes

By Tamie Meck

Grace Deck wins spelling bee, wish sweepstakes  | School, spelling bee, PJHS, Paonia

Grace Deck

Paonia Junior High School eighth-grade student Grace Deck had a wish granted last week when she won the annual district-wide spelling bee. Her wish to win the bee didn't just happen. After missing last year's bee due to an illness -- she returned to school the day of the bee and was unaware that the bee was that day -- she has kept up on her orthography skills, regularly studying word lists downloaded from the Scripps website. Scripps is the sponsor of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Deck loves words and also hopes to be a writer one day. She out-spelled 29 other middle school and junior high students from Paonia, Cedaredge, Delta and Hotchkiss to advance to the 76th annual Colorado State Spelling Bee, scheduled for March 12 at Sturm Hall on the University of Denver campus. The winner advances to the national bee.

But that wasn't the only wish that was granted.

Grace, daughter of Deanna and Jim Deck, entered the Justice Wishes Sweepstakes, sponsored by the Justice clothing stores for girls, by making a wish for another person.

That wish was for another girl, 13-year-old Delaney Clements, to have her wish granted. Clements is the Grand Junction teen who has aggressive, terminal brain cancer. Clements had made her own wish to meet Taylor Swift.

"I thought it would be nice because that's what she really wanted," said Deck. She said that the day her wish was entered in the contest, Clements got her wish and met Swift.

Grace's entry was one of four sweepstakes winners and Deck and her mother will fly to Columbus, Ohio, to visit the Justice corporate headquarters. While there, their transportation, dining and hotels will be covered, and Grace will also get, in addition to a tour of the Justice headquarters, an Apple iPad, a professional photo shoot, and a $1,000 shopping spree.

And while she's excited, Deck said she's not as excited as her mom. Said Deck, "She jumped up and down."