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Student earns back-to-back spelling wins

PHOTO SUBMITTED / The top five winners of the district wide spelling bee were Caleb Sasser from West Lincoln (from left), Faith Carpenter from Bogue Chitto, Sydney Richardson from Brookhaven Elementary, Sam Allen from Lipsey and Brandon Ashmore from Alexander Junior High.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / The top five winners of the district wide spelling bee were Caleb Sasser from West Lincoln (from left), Faith Carpenter from Bogue Chitto, Sydney Richardson from Brookhaven Elementary, Sam Allen from Lipsey and Brandon Ashmore from Alexander Junior High.

For fourth through eighth grade local students, the district-wide spelling bee is an excellent opportunity to show off something that is relatively rare in the competitive world: a combination of prodigious studying and near flawless memorization.

The bee is also an opportunity to showcase the kind of talents that a student could find very useful down the road: the ability to not only put your mind to the test, but to do so in a competitive format in front of scores of other students, parents and teachers.

“It’s a great way for kids to expand their vocabulary, boost competitive spirit and develop poise and confidence,” said Bogue Chitto Attendance Center Principal Mickey Myers.

This year’s competition was a spelling safari, both literally and figuratively. After Brandon Ashmore, a seventh grade student from Alexander Junior High, successfully spelled “safari” in the ninth round of the competition, he went on to win the entire event for the second year in a row.

Brandon Ashmore

Brandon Ashmore

Ashmore beat out Sam Allen in the final round of the competition, a fifth grader from Lipsey who finally stumbled over the spelling of the word “mosque.”

Faith Carpenter, an eighth grader from Bogue Chitto where the competition was held, landed third place after making it to the eighth round. Brookhaven Elementary student Sydney Richardson received fourth place and Caleb Sasser, from West Lincoln Attendance Center, rounded out the top five winners with a fifth place finish.

Each year, the race to the top of the spelling bee competition follows a similar format, according to Myers. Each school is slightly unique, but usually the students compete against classmates at their respective school. The winners then go on to compete against the winners from different grades until there is a final winner, said Myers. That winner then goes on to the district-wide competition held at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center.

Ashmore will now head to Jackson on March 18 to represent the Lincoln County area. Last year, Ashmore finished sixth out of 29 competitors at the state level.

“He has a great shot to do even better this year,” said Myers. “He is used to the competition format and is a great competitor.”

Key organizer of the local event Susan Price, a first grade teacher at Bogue Chitto, said the district bee is a source of pride for students, teachers and parents.

“This is something we all look forward to year after year. As teachers, we love to see our students involved,” Price said.

Other volunteers for the competition included area educators Debbie Smith, Kristi Watts and Missy Zeinke, who collectively judged the competition. Nancy Butler emceed the spelling bee.