Area students to compete in county bee

COVINGTON - Sixteen Newton County elementary and middle school students will compete against each other Wednesday in Newton County School System's 2008 Spelling Bee.

The competition will begin at 9 a.m. at the Newton County Board of Education offices.

"The Spelling Bee is a fun activity in which children can participate to demonstrate the spelling skills and knowledge they have learned," said Ken Proctor, director of elementary schools for NCSS, in a written press release. "Spelling is one of the lifelong skills that children begin to learn early in school and continue throughout their lifetimes. Written communication is an essential component of everyday life."

Newton County students in grades four through eight have been preparing for the event since last semester.

"The individual classroom teachers hold classroom spelling bees. From the classroom spelling bees, the winners move to the school-level spelling bee," Proctor said in an e-mail. "The winner of the school-level spelling bee participates in the district competition."

Each school also sends its runner-up as an alternate in the event the winner cannot participate.

All of the words the students are asked to spell come from the Scripps National Spelling Bee Organization.

"Each school that participates is given a unique password and user name to enable (students) to access the practice information on the Scripps Web site," Proctor said.

On Wednesday, each student will be given a word that he or she must spell correctly.

"After having started to spell a word, the contestant will not be given any opportunity to change the letters, once pronounced," according to a press release from NCSS. "If a speller fails to spell the word correctly, he must step out of the competition."

Once only two contestants are left in the competition, the rules change.

"If a speller misspells a word, the other contestant is given the opportunity to spell the same word. If the second contestant spells the word correctly and spells the next word on the caller's list correctly, he or she will be declared the champion," according to the release. "If the second speller misspells the new words after correcting the first contestant's error, the first contestant will be declared the champion if he or she spells the misspelled word and the next word on the caller's list correctly."

The county spelling bee winner will win a certificate and trophy and advance to the region spelling bee, which will be held at Putnam County Middle School on Feb. 23.

That winner will go on to compete in the state and national competition.

Parents and family members are invited to Wednesday's event, which will be held in the Newton County Board of Education's board room, located at 2109 Newton Drive in Covington. The school system asks visitors not to bring infants and small children to the event so contestants will not be distracted.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

2008 School Spelling Bee Contestants and Alternates:

School - Contestant - Alternate

East Newton Elementary - Caitlin Smith - Samantha Temple

Fairview Elementary - Jean Pham - Mauricsa Piper

Ficquett Elementary - Courage Ogie - Tamara Lowe

Heard-Mixon Elementary - Janae Flowers - Allison Simmons

Livingston Elementary - Katelynn Holland - Savannah Grunhard

Mansfield Elementary - Stephen Castleberry - Savannah Smith

Middle Ridge Elementary - Kai Patterson - Gillian Wilson

Oak Hill Elementary - Elise McDonald - Charles Barksdale

Palmer-Stone Elementary - Kiara Mulkey - Taji Steele

Porterdale Elementary - Jeremy Walton - Kenny Morgan

Rocky Plains Elementary - Emmanual Badru - Breanna Harris

West Newton Elementary - Kayla Johnson - Justin Edgar

Clements Middle - Stephanie Lightsey - Ian Bachiller

Cousins Middle - Tiesha Cullins - Kiamber Marks

Indian Creek Middle - Jaleel Brown - Timari Fears

Veterans Memorial Middle - Maceo Maddox - Kyle Churchville