Spelling bee: Local heads to state

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- Indian Creek Middle School seventh-grader Caitlin Smith heads to Atlanta this week to compete in the state Spelling Bee.

On Friday, she will compete against other regional winners and runners-up in the state's annual Spelling Bee competition at Georgia State University.

"Caitlin is so excited about this opportunity, and I am confident in her ability to not only represent Indian Creek, but Newton County School System as well," said her principal, Dr. Renee Mallard. "Watching her compete at both the school and system level was so exciting. We are so proud of her, and when I spoke to her on Monday, she said she was ready -- and I believe her."

In February, Smith won the Newton County School System Spelling Bee after correctly spelling the winning word, "indiscreet," as well as other words like "zealous," "apostle" and "designate."

Later in the month, she competed in the region competition in Putnam County, where she took second place, after misspelling the word "knish," qualifying her to compete in the state bee.

"Everybody at the Bee was a great speller, and I just felt like if I won that would be great, but if I didn't it was still great to just get there," she said this week. "I was a little nervous because there were 18 contestants. When it got down to just two of us, I knew that win or lose I'd get a trophy and have something to be proud of."

For placing second, she also won a trophy, a college dictionary and a $50 gift certificate to Borders book store.

"We're proud of her effort, her attitude and her achievement, and we're very happy for her that she was able to place high enough to go to the next level," said her mom Adele May, a math teacher at Newton High School.

"Caitlin is a great kid who works very hard on everything she does," said her dad Steve Smith, a special education teacher at Alcovy High School. "Our whole family is very proud of her."

Up until Friday's competition, she's continuing to practice using the help of her family and friends, who call out the words with which she has trouble.

"I don't want to waste time studying words I already know how to spell," she said. "The college dictionary I won has been very useful in studying, but really, a lot of it is luck. It really comes down to whoever is the first one to get a word they don't know."