Eighth grader wins county spell­ing bee for fourth time

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Jenny Thompson

Stephanie Light­sey, eighth grade stu­dent at Cle­ments Mid­dle School, prob­a­bly doesn’t have to worry much with run­ning spell check.

Light­sey took first place in the 2008 New­ton County School Sys­tem Spell­ing Bee Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Most stu­dents wrung their hands or froze while spell­ing out their an­swers, but Light­sey sim­ply grabbed the mi­cro­phone and let the let­ters roll off her tongue.

“ I just sat up here, and my hands were all sweaty, and I just tried to stay calm,” Light­sey said.

Light­sey has won the county bee as a fourth, fifth, sixth and now eighth grader. This is the last year she will be el­i­gi­ble to com­pete since the bee is only open to stu­dents in fourth through eighth grade.

“ This year we didn’t re­ally study,” Light­sey said. “ I don’t know why.”

She said not prac­tic­ing as much as in pre­vi­ous years with lists found on the Scripps Howard Na­tional Spell­ing Bee Web site made her ner­vous and she did not think she would even place.

How­ever, her mother Re­nee ran­domly asked her how to spell “ hy­drangea” a cou­ple of days be­fore the con­test.

Run­ner- up Tiesha Cullins of Cousins Mid­dle School mis­spelled “ hy­drangea” and then, as the rules state, Light­sey had to cor­rectly spell what her chal­lenger had missed be­fore tack­ling the fi­nal word.

Light­sey won the bee with the word cor­nu­copia.

For­mer New­ton County ed­u­ca­tors Lee Aldridge, Ann Blaker and Louise Adams acted as the con­test’s judges and sup­plied def­i­ni­tions, sen­tences and ety­mol­ogy when re­quested by the spell­ers.

Linda Wade, a for­mer New­ton County Schools li­brar­ian, called the words to the spell­ers and con­grat­u­lated all of them be­fore the prac­tice round.

“ It’s just so won­der­ful to al­ready be a win­ner be­fore you even start,” Wade said. “ We’re all so proud of you.”

NCSS Di­rec­tor of El­e­men­tary Cur­ricu­lum Ken Proc­tor and Di­rec­tor of Mid­dle School Cur­ricu­lum Adria Grif­fin handed tro­phies to Light­sey and Cullins at the end of the event, which lasted ap­prox­i­mately an hour, as well has gave cer­tifi­cates to all con­tes­tants and al­ter­nates.

“Th­ese stu­dents have worked very hard to get here,” Proc­tor said.

Com­pet­ing in the event were Caitlin Smith of East New­ton El­e­men­tary, Jean Pham of Fairview El­e­men­tary, Courage Ogie of Fic­quett El­e­men­tary, Janae Flow­ers of Heard-Mixon El­e­men­tary, Kate­lynn Hol­land and Liv­ingston El­e­men­tary, Stephen Castle­berry of Mansfield El­e­men­tary, Kai Pat­ter­son of Mid­dle Ridge El­e­men­tary, Elise McDon­ald of Oak Hill El­e­men­tary, Kiara Mulkey of Palmer-Stone El­e­men­tary, Jeremy Wal­ton of Por­terdale El­e­men­tary, Em­man­ual Badru of Rocky Plains El­e­men­tary, Kayla John­son of West New­ton El­e­men­tary, Jaleel Brown of In­dian Creek Mid­dle and Maceo Mad­dox of Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Mid­dle, who placed third in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Al­ter­nates were Sa­man­tha Tem­ple of East New­ton El­e­men­tary, Mau­ricsa Piper of Fairview El­e­men­tary, Ta­mara Lowe of Fic­quett El­e­men­tary, Al­li­son Sim­mons of Heard-Mixon El­e­men­tary, Savannah Grun­hard of Liv­ingston El­e­men­tary, Savannah Smith of Mansfield El­e­men­tary, Gil­lian Wil­son of Mid­dle Ridge El­e­men­tary, Charles Barks­dale of Oak Hill El­e­men­tary, Taji Steele of Palmer-Stone El­e­men­tary, Kenny Morgan of Por­terdale El­e­men­tary, Bre­anna Har­ris of Rocky Plains El­e­men­tary, Justin Edgar of West New­ton El­e­men­tary, Ian Bachiller of Cle­ments Mid­dle, Ki­amber Marks of Cousins Mid­dle, Ti­mari Fears of In­dian Creek Mid­dle and Kyle Churchville of Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Mid­dle.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

The champ: New­ton County Spell­ing Bee win­ner Stephanie Light­sey holds her 2008 tro­phy as she sits sur­rounded by the tro­phies from her 2004, 2005 and 2006 Spell­ing Bee vic­to­ries. Stephanie, an eighth grader at Cle­ments Mid­dle School, has won the county spell­ing bee four of the five years she has com­peted.

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