Newton Spelling Bee today

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System will hold the 2013 System Spelling Bee at 10:30 a.m. today at Newton High School.

Each of the system's elementary and middle schools will send its school spelling bee champion to participate in the county competition. Students in grades four through eight were eligible to participate in the school competitions. In addition to the champion, each school will send its runner-up in the school spelling bee as an alternate in the event the school champion is unable to participate.

"Spelling is one of the life-long skills that children begin to learn early in school and continue throughout their lifetimes," said Lee Peck, executive director for School Improvement at NCSS. "Written communication is an essential component of everyday life. In order to be an effective and efficient communicator, one must have adequate spelling knowledge. The Spelling Bee is a fun activity in which children can participate to demonstrate the spelling skills and knowledge they have learned."

During the competition, contestants must spell the word they are given correctly. After having started to spell a word, the contestant will not be given any opportunity to change the letters, once pronounced. If a speller fails to spell the word correctly, he must step out of the competition.

Once the competition is down to just two remaining contestants, the elimination procedure will 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. If the second speller misspells the new word 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 judges and the Newton County Spelling Bee Committee are in complete control of the Bee at all times, and the judges' decision will be final on all matters.

Parents and family members are invited to attend the bee; however, system officials asks that parents refrain from bringing infants and small children to the competition, as they may distract the contestants. Officials also ask that flash photography only be used after the competition is completed.

The winner of the Newton County School System Spelling Bee will represent the county at the regional Spelling Bee at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Putnam County Middle School in Eatonton.