The system-wide winner of the Elkin City Schools spelling bee was determined in 10 rounds Monday night as a packed house of parents, administrators and supporters filled the system’s central office front lobby. Coming out on top was fourth-grader Maggie Tomlin.
Students in fourth through eighth grade competed against one another, including individual school spelling bee champions Sophia Barron, a fifth-grader at Elkin Elementary School, and Reanna Rice, a seventh-grader at Elkin Middle School.
The 11 spellers who attended Monday night were asked to try their hand at spelling words like parka, broadleaf, interrupt, gunnysack, linseed, gorgeous, iguana, spherical, geoponics and vendetta.
At the end of the fifth round, two competitors were left in the bee — Maggie Tomlin, after correctly spelling magnolia, and Isabella Brumfield, a seventh-grader, after spelling apricot.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, both spellers completed their words correctly, but then in the eighth round both misspelled their words — toucan and strudel, so they both remained in the competition for a ninth round.
In the ninth round, Isabella was unable to spell alligator correctly, and Maggie spelled her word, diatribe, correctly. For the championship word and the win, Maggie went on to correctly spell croquet.
She will represent the Elkin City Schools at the regional competition on March 20 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, which begins with registration at noon.
At the conclusion of Monday’s bee, Cynthia Altemueller, chief academic officer for Elkin schools, told the competitors, “Right now you are all winners because you came this far. You represented Elkin Elementary School and Elkin Middle School as leaders. We are very proud of each of you.”
All of the 11 participants, as well as three who were unable to attend, were presented with certificates. Maggie received a plaque as system winner, and the two school winners also were recognized with certificates.
The 14 students who advanced to the system-wide bee were Maggie Hall and Maggie Tomlin, fourth grade; Sophia Barron, Josie Hoyle, Emma Grace Martin and Katherine Wiles, fifth grade; Judah Christian and Thomas McComb, sixth grade; Isabella Brumfield, Ethan Carroll, Brandon Mullis, Reanna Rice, seventh grade; and Will Heise and Jadon Sweatt, eighth grade.
“Thank you for sharing your children with us,” fifth-grade teacher Mary Shepherd, one of the three judges, told parents prior to the bee. “They’ve come so far. This shows they understand patterns in our languages and they know other languages even if they don’t know it.”
Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe also thanked the parents for their support of their children as well as the teachers. He pointed out the bee is a way to showcase the students’ talents.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.