Find a family member or friend to assist, then close your eyes. OK, assistant, have the person with their eyes closed spell the following word — fathom.
Did they spell it correctly?
Well, for the second consecutive year, Maggie Tomlin, a fifth-grader at Elkin Elementary School, did spell her championship word — this year, fathom — correctly, winning the Elkin City Schools’ district spelling bee and the chance to represent Elkin at the regional bee in March in Winston-Salem.
Eight of the 13 best spellers in the school-level spelling bees at Elkin Elementary and Middle schools participated in Thursday’s district bee at the Central Office, under the hopeful and encouraging watch of parents, family members and friends.
For three of the participants, Eryn Brown, Blane Macy and Brandon Mullis, it was their last chance to try winning the spelling bee, since they will move up to ninth grade next year, and no spelling bee is held at the high school level.
For the other five spellers, they will get to try again next year to defeat young Maggie Tomlin, who last year as a fourth-grader surprised everyone by defeating a middle-schooler in the final rounds of the district bee.
During Thursday’s bee, Tomlin again was the last one standing in the fifth round of competition with eighth-graders Eryn Brown and Blane Macy. She was the only one to spell her word — hurricane — correctly in that round, and went on to spell the championship word correctly, ending the bee. If she had spelled it incorrectly, the spelling bee would have continued with Brown, Macy and Tomlin.
Words in this year’s bee included muskrat, dogged, nosiest, mammoth, womanly, Netherlander, dreary, ballerina, Capricorn, nostril, caboose, confidence, sultan, geothermal, crescent, mathematics, harmonica, furlong, hypothesis, ambulance, contraband, threshold, haversack, loam, hurricane, protein, Spartan, and fathom.
Other participants included elementary school winner Brady Reed, a fourth-grader, as well as Joshua Couch, fourth grade; Hollin Stewart, sixth grade; Alison Wells, seventh grade. Unable to attend were middle school winner Reanna Rice, eighth grade; Taiten King, fifth grade; Sophia Barron, sixth grade; Gabe Mitchell, sixth grade; and Raejay Hincher, seventh grade.
Tomlin said after her win, that she didn’t study much for the bee, just a cram session during dinner the night before the district bee. “I just sort of hoped I’d do fine,” she said. “It’s exciting, but at some time nervous, because the regional bee is hard. I was the first one out last year.”
She said when she grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian.
Ginger Smith, one of the judges, accredited Tomlin’s win to all the books she reads.
Prior to the bee beginning, Dustin Webb, Elkin Elementary School assistant principal, welcomed everyone and shared congratulations to the spellers for making it to the district bee.
“A lot of people don’t even bother to learn to spell, but it will carry you a long way,” he said.
In addition to Smith, other judges were Paige Edwards and Emily Rycroft, while Karen Spencer served as pronouncer.
The regional bee will be March 26 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.