LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A roll or knot of hair worn at the back of the head, or at the nape of the neck, is a chignon. All it took was spelling that word correctly for Paul Keaton to win the 21st annual Ford Motor Company Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee.
Keaton, a seventh grader at Christ Central School in Pikeville, was one of 61 students from 60 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to have entered the spelling bee.
Chuck Hoffman, Salaried Personnel Supervisor at the Kentucky Truck Plant, was on hand to help kick off the competition.
“Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company announced a program with local schools to teach job and leadership skills to students. It is not secret that the students here today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Opportunities like this Spelling Bee showcase Kentucky’s brightest minds and Ford is privileged to be a part of such a wonderful event,” stated Hoffman in the introduction.
According to the Derby Festival, participants were challenged with 178 words through 12 rounds of competition before determining a winner.
In addition to riding on the Winner’s Float in the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 1st, Keaton also received the John & Joan Murphy Memorial Scholarship fund. The fund grants him a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond.