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Seventh-grader takes Newton spelling bee

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd. Indian Creek Middle School seventh-grader Caitlin Smith won the 2010 Newton County School System Spelling Bee Friday morning at Eastside High School after correctly spelling "indiscreet." Palmer Stone Elementary School fifth-grader Coley Edwards took the runner-up spot in the county bee.

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd. Indian Creek Middle School seventh-grader Caitlin Smith won the 2010 Newton County School System Spelling Bee Friday morning at Eastside High School after correctly spelling "indiscreet." Palmer Stone Elementary School fifth-grader Coley Edwards took the runner-up spot in the county bee.

COVINGTON -- If you're not a good speller, you may want to get some help from seventh-grader Caitlin Smith.

In her second county spelling bee, Smith, a student at Indian Creek Middle School, was named the winner of the 2010 Newton County School System Spelling Bee.

"I was so nervous I was about to throw up," she said about her feelings before and during the competition.

By the time she corrected the spelling of "receipt" and then correctly spelled "indiscreet" for the win, her nerves turned more toward excitement, she said.

"She is a wonderful child," said her father, Stephen Smith. "She's very smart. She studies for everything."

The spelling bee was no different.

Ever since she won her school spelling bee earlier this school year, she's been studying various words.

"I got a very big study list and studied it as much as possible," she said.

With her countless hours of studying, she said the county spelling bee ended up being "very easy." She correctly spelled such words as "ozone," "warmth," "lonely," "zealous," "query," "gourmet," "apostle" and "designate," among others.

Runner up Coley Edwards, a fifth-grader Palmer-Stone Elementary School, feels rewarded for her 18 hours of study time.

"I was so nervous," she said about her first county spelling bee. "I am very happy for the winner, and I hope my school is proud of me."

Nineteen fourth- through eighth-grade students from the Newton County School System spelled correctly such words as "remnant," "hostile," "kettle," conjecture" and "roommate," among dozens of other words, at the county spelling bee Friday morning at Eastside High School.

"Spelling is so, so important," said Dr. Ken Proctor, director of elementary schools at NCSS.

Both the winner and runner-up took home trophies, and all students received certificates. Smith will compete in the regional spelling bee, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 27 at Putnam County Elementary School in Eatonton; Edwards will serve as her alternate in the event she can't participate.