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Rockdale speller places fifth in state bee

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd
Jazz Duncan, an eighth-grader from Memorial Middle School, placed fifth in the state spelling bee on Friday. She was the last girl standing in the competition.

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd Jazz Duncan, an eighth-grader from Memorial Middle School, placed fifth in the state spelling bee on Friday. She was the last girl standing in the competition.

CONYERS -- Jazz Duncan's dad said it best -- "She has gone out in fine style."

The Memorial Middle School eighth-grader placed fifth in the 2013 Georgia Association of Educators' State Spelling Bee on Friday at Georgia State University's Student Center. She was the top finisher among girls.

"We're incredibly proud," said her dad David after the bee.

After 19 rounds, Duncan misspelled the word "illusoriness." After the bee, Duncan said she has never heard of the word before.

She has, however, heard of plenty of other words that she spelled during the bee -- anschluss, recalcitrant, quisling, rejoneador and the German word sitzmark.

"It was good," she said about the competition.

She said she felt it started off easy, then got harder and then easy again and then really hard.

"It was hard," her mom Heather said about the bee. "But it was about skills -- it wasn't a memory game today."

This was Duncan's third time to compete at the state level. She placed fourth in the state bee two years ago and made it to round 11 last year. This is Duncan's last year to compete in the spelling competition, since it is only open to students in fourth through eighth grades.

"It's kind of sad that I won't be able to do this anymore, but it's also kind of a relief that it won't be taking up my time," she said.

She hopes that her younger siblings, Zora and David Jr., keep up the family tradition. Their brother Jaire placed ninth and 10th at the state competition the two years before Jazz.

"We look forward to Zora next year," their dad said Friday.

Jazz has enrolled at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology next school year. Her brother Jaire also attends the school.

The 2013 state bee included 10 boys and 10 girls; five fifth-graders, three sixth-graders, four seventh-graders and eight eighth-graders from 17 public, two private and one charter schools.

Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Poulos from The Wesleyan School in Norcross won the state bee this year. The entire event lasted 26 rounds and covered almost 250 words.