• 79°

‘Mentor’ spells win for Lipsey student

A Lipsey Middle School fifth-grade student won the LincolnCounty Spelling Bee Thursday in the 18th round of competition.

Caleb Hamill outlasted six other contestants to win thetournament with his spelling of the word “mentor.”

Hamill smiled when the moderator told him his word and spelledit without hesitation. “Mentor” was easier than a word he was givenin an earlier round, the winner said as he was being congratulatedby parents and school officials.

“‘Malignant’ was one of the hardest ones I had up there,” Hamillsaid. “I wasn’t very familiar with it.”

Hamill said he sounded it out, pictured it in his mind andspelled what he saw.

Camp Newcomb, a fifth-grade student at Bogue Chitto AttendanceCenter, placed second in the competition, which was sponsored byThe DAILY LEADER. Andreanna Johnson, an eighth-grader at AlexanderJunior High School, placed third.

Hamill’s father, Henry Hamill, said he was very proud of hisson. He said Caleb had not practiced a lot for the spellingbee.

“He learned all the rules of spelling in school,” said HenryHamill. “He knows how to use them. He gets that from his mother -certainly not his father.”

There were seven contestants in the bee including Hamill,Newcomb, Johnson, seventh-grader Austin Brister of BrookhavenAcademy, fourth-grader Kentrell Tucker of Brookhaven ElementarySchool, fifth-grader Lyndsey Nations of Enterprise AttendanceCenter and fourth-grader Sara Case of West Lincoln AttendanceCenter.

Three contestants were eliminated in the first round. A fourthcontestant misspelled a word and was dropped from the competitionin the seventh round.

Three rounds later, the field was narrowed to Hamill andNewcomb.

The pair continued to advance until Newcomb was eliminated inthe 17th round. Under the competition rules, Hamill then had tospell another word correctly in the 18th round to win theevent.

“It was the longest and most exciting spelling bee we’ve had inquite some time,” said Dana Rushing, a rules judge for thecompetition.

Hamill will compete against winners in other county spellingbees at the state tournament in Jackson on March 23.