May 5, 1949: Tension was high in the final round of the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee at Koch-Connelly Post 121 of the American Legion, Scranton.
Lorraine Rozaieski of West Scranton and Marie Boyle of North Scranton entered the round after defeating 14 other spellers from around the county. Rozaieski went first and misspelled “squawk.” Boyle spelled it correctly, but she misspelled “bogus.” Rozaieski spelled it correctly and then captured the championship by spelling “bodkin” correctly.
For her win, Rozaieski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rozaieski, received a $100 cash voucher from the Scranton Times, the bee’s sponsor. Boyle received a $50 cash voucher for second place, and Charles Berger received a $25 cash voucher for third place.
Edward Gerrity, managing editor of the Scranton Times, presents the top three spellers of the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee with a prize following the county championship on May 5, 1949. The Times was the sponsor of the county bee. From left: Gerrity, Lorraine Rozaieski, first place; Marie Boyle, second place; and Charles Berger, third place. Lorraine will represent Lackawanna County in the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. later this month. Times-Tribune Archives
18 spellers are ready to begin at the Abingtons preliminary round of the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee at the Waverly Community House on April 7, 1949. Seated at the table is Jospeh Zaffy, pronouncer for this round. Times-Tribune Archives
The compilers of the words for the special spelldown to crown the Scranton City spelling champ in the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee, from left: Lena Angeline, Scranton School District; H. Elizabeth Williams, Scranton School District; Sister M. Joachin, Cathedral School; Sister Maria Assunta, Chapel School; and Sam Donis, Scranton School District. Times-Tribune Archives
Three of the spellers in the North Scranton preliminary round for the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee on April 12, 1949 from left – Mary Ann Stawisuck, Marie Boyle and Catherine Jones. Times-Tribune Archives
Last minute studying by spellers in the North Scranton preliminary in the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee on April 12, 1949. Times-Tribune Archives
Lorraine Rozaieski, of Scranton, the Lackawanna County entry in the 1949 National Spelling Bee, receives an official badge from Rita Casey, official Spelling Bee Hostess; in Washington D.C. on May 23, 1949. Lorraine’s mother, Anna, looks on during the brief pinning ceremony. Associated Press photo
Two of the spellers at the Moscow High School preliminaries for the Lackawanna County Spelling Bee championships on April 29, 1949 from left – Mellinee Keiper, eighth grade student at Clifton Township School; and Anna Mae Koss, eighth grade student at Madison Township School. Times-Tribune Archives
The judges for the preliminary round of the Lackawanna County Championship Spelling Bee at Moscow High School on April 29, 1949 were: seated from left: the Rev. Hugh Klinetob, pastor of the Moscow Methodist Church; and Atty. M.J. Martin, past president of the Lackawanna Bar Association. Standing from left: Sebert Schnieder, accountant and statistician; and Leo T. Foley, former Universtity of Scranton faculty member.
Lorriane Rozaieski, Lackawnna County’s National Spelling Bee enterant, and her mother Mrs. Anna Rozaieski boarding their train for Washington D.C. at Lackawanna Station on May 22, 1949.
Rozaieski had the honor of representing Lackawanna County in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., from May 23 to 27. She and her mother, Anna, left for Washington on May 22 aboard a Lackawanna Railroad Pullman car. Once in the capital, Rozaieski and other spellers saw the sights, including the Smithsonian Institution museums, the Capitol, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the FBI and the Department of Justice.
On May 26, Rozaieski and her mom spent time with U.S. Rep. Harry O’Neill of Dunmore. O’Neill took the pair to visit the office of Vice President Alben W. Barkley, then for lunch with fellow Congressman Francis E. Walter and a tour of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. That night, the Rozaieskis joined O’Neill and his daughter at a Washington Senators vs. Cleveland Indians game.
The national spelling championship took place May 27 at the National Press Building. Rozaieski went up against 48 other spellers from around the United States. In the end, Kim Calvin of Canton, Ohio, won by spelling “onerous” correctly. Rozaieski placed 18th.
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