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.

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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