Seventh-grader Cheyenne Ross, one of 14 students representing Talladega County Schools, received the championship word “filament” following the eighth round of competition after she correctly spelled “maraca.”
“When I first found out about the spelling bee, I immediately started studying and practicing the words,” Ross said. “I’m just looking forward to competing at the state spelling bee.”
Ross ran a gamut of foreign-origin words early in the bee, correctly spelling “sumo,” “fiesta” and “sitzmark” in rounds one, two and four respectively. Other words successfully spelled by Ross included “newton,” “threshold,” “lunatic” and “affinity.”
“She obviously did awesome today,” said WHS fifth- and sixth-grade teacher Jessica Mathis, who sponsored Ross for the county-level bee. “Last year, she was the county runner-up, so I hope she will represent well for the school. She had a spelling bee study list, so she studied a lot. Most of it was on her own since I’m not one of her teachers, but I did teach her last year. I was there for support and I supplied her with the words, but she was on her own.”
Talladega City Schools and Sylacauga City Schools combined for a total of three students representing their systems.
The event featured judges from each school system — Jennifer Rosato representing Sylacauga, Dr. Dolia Patterson representing Talladega and Sallie Chastain representing the county.
Talladega County Board of Education Instructional Services Administrator Dr. Donna R. King coordinated the spelling bee and touted the successes of the students spelling words some might not consider at their grade level.
“I think we can attribute that to the good educational foundations found in our classrooms in our schools,” King said. “They are addressing upper-level vocabulary in a way that these students can attack such difficult levels of words.”
Runner-up Bailey Robinson, a sixth-grader at Childersburg Middle School who defeated 40-plus students at his school to qualify for the bee, breezed through the first seven rounds, nailing down the correct spellings for “hamster,” “bandersnatch,” “orchard,” “aquatic,” “contraband,” “grotto” and “hyphen” before hitting a stumbling block — the word “crochet” — which paved the way for a victory by Ross.
“I’m very proud of him,” Robinson’s father Brandon Robinson said. “He’s worked hard and he’s an excellent speller.”
Kim White, Robinson’s sponsor, said he was the first student from CMS to advance to the final round of the county spelling bee and he will have two more opportunities to compete for a chance to represent the county.
Ross will move on to compete in the Alabama Spelling Bee scheduled for March 8 at Oak Mountain High School, with Robinson waiting in the wings if for some reason Ross cannot compete.
The winner of the Alabama Spelling Bee receives an all-expenses-paid trip for two to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.
Contact Shane Dunaway at email@example.com