Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd MaKenzie Snyder, a sixth-grader at Cousins MIddle School, left, won the 2012 Newton County School System Spelling Bee on Thursday at Newton High School. KC Olter, a sixth-grader at Veterans Memorial Middle School, was the runnerup.
COVINGTON -- The third time was the charm for Newton County's 2012 Spelling Bee champ.
MaKenzie Snyder, a sixth-grader at Cousins Middle School, became the winner after seven rounds of competition, including only one round between the final two contestants.
Snyder spelled "kosher" correctly after runner up KC Olter misspelled it, and spelled "nubby" correctly for the win.
"It's awesome," said Snyder, daughter of Kerin Teague of Covington.
This is her third year in the county Spelling Bee -- she was the fourth- and fifth-grade champ at Ficquett Elementary School the previous two years.
"I'm very proud -- I'm speechless," said her mom. "She's a very good student."
This year, MaKenzie practiced by making a spelling game on her computer and having her family help her.
"They'll give me random words and ask me how to spell them," she said.
She said she was very nervous about the competition, but calmed down after the practice round.
During the competition, she correctly spelled the words "ballot," "collar," "barter," "furnish" and "kindling."
"I'm very pleased -- she studied hard," said her language arts teacher Trista Hooten-Young. "She's a bright young lady. She deserves it."
Runner-up KC Olter participated in the county Spelling Bee in Rockdale County in fourth grade and is surprised she made it so far this year.
"I thought I'd be the first one to lose," said Olter, daughter of Kun and Cynthia Olter.
Olter, a sixth-grader at Veterans Memorial Middle School, correctly spelled the words "employ," "yearling," "villain" and "hostile" during the competition.
Other students correctly spelled words like "terrific," "warmth," "feeble," "jabber," "lonely" and "grammar."
All contestants and runners-up received a ribbon and certificate.
"Every student is already a winner," said Ken Proctor, director of Elementary Education at the Newton County School System. "Some of the school competitions can be tough. We're very excited and proud of them for accomplishing that task."
Snyder will represent Newton County at the regional Spelling Bee at 10 a.m. Feb. 25 at Putnam County Middle School in Eatonton.
The entire video of the Newton County Spelling Bee will be published on the NCSS YouTube page.