County spelling bee draws crowd, intense competition

First Posted: 1/22/2009

While tundra was the winning word for the Surry County Schools championship bee, winner Petra Goettel did not think it was the toughest word she had to spell.
The word was also easier because Goettels science class has been studying ecosystems, including the tundra. Despite her confidence in spelling the final word, the fifth grader from White Plains Elementary School was surprised to be named the overall first place winner.
I was pretty nervous, she said of the competition.
Each of the elementary and middle schools in the county school system could send a school champion from any grade level as well as a winner from each grade, four through eight.
The top four winners from each bee received ribbons with the first place winner receiving a trophy.
I admire these young, fresh minds so much. It takes practice to get to the point where you are, said Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent, to the participants. The ability to spell is something Ive always admired.
The students also had support networks in the form of family and friends who were there to cheer them on as they made it through each round and to offer a comforting word to those who did not come out on top.
I was just touched by the parent involvement, said Pat Widdowson, assistant superintendent. It was such a family thing. We just think thats Surry County, and that makes us very proud.
Widdowson also noted that it was nice to see children have such dedication to a spelling bee to study and prepare when they could be doing so many other things. The intensity in the rooms proved that the students were serious about what they were doing and put forth their best efforts to come out ahead.
In the championship bee, the fourth-place winner was Amy Cockerham from Cedar Ridge Elementary School. The third-place winner was Alex Fowler from Central Middle School. Courtney Jones from Franklin Elementary School was the second-place winner. Petra Goettel from White Plains Elementary was the county-wide winner.
For the eighth-grade spelling bee, Ryan Critz of Gentry Middle School was the fourth-place winner. Sydney Freeman of Central Middle was the third-place winner. Alex Semones of Pilot Mountain Middle took home second place. Jazzmyn Pugh from Meadowview Middle was the first-place winner for eighth grade.
In the seventh-grade bee, Samantha Cox from Central Middle and Katie Hooker from Pilot Mountain Middle tied for third place. Second place went to Destiny Dalton from Pilot Mountain Middle. Gray Sadler from Meadowview Middle won first place for the seventh grade.
The sixth-grade fourth-place winner was Ty Harold from Meadowview Middle. William Hammond from Central Middle won third place. Grace Tipping from Pilot Mountain Middle took home second place. The sixth-grade first-place winner was Mason Taylor from Gentry Middle.
For the fifth-grade spelling bee, Jesse Johnson from Copeland Elementary took home fourth place. Rebecca Parsons from Cedar Ridge Elementary finished in third place. Second place went to Dylan Gallimore of Franklin Elementary. Austin Critz from White Plains Elementary was the overall winner for fifth grade.
In the fourth-grade spelling bee, Seth Buie from Dobson Elementary was the fourth-place finisher. Brenda Cabrera from White Plains Elementary took home third place. The second-place finisher was Megan Pleimann from Shoals Elementary. Haley Keck from Cedar Ridge Elementary was the first-place winner for fourth grade.
The spelling bee will be broadcast today at about 4:45 p.m. on WPAQ 740 AM and will also be streaming on the radio stations Web site.
Photographs not appearing in todays paper will run over the weekend.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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