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Fifth grader named top speller for C-O-L-L-E-T-O-N

On January 17, 2019 in the mini auditorium at the Colleton County Middle School, 22 students gathered to compete to determine who was the top bee when it came to spelling.
The competitors represent students from across the district in grades fifth, sixth, seventh, and eights. The students involved in the district level competition had already proven their worth by placing in the top three spelling bees, held earlier in the school year at their individual schools.
On the Jan. 17th event, each elementary school in the school district sent three students.
The students that represented Bells Elementary were Esauriah Rose, Caleb Burgoon and Jamaurie Koger.
Cottageville Elementary had Brianna Werts, Mariah Creel and Barbara Martin represent them. The fifth graders that advanced from Forest Hills Elementary were Bindi Seigler, Kaylani Caldwell and Caroline Herndon.
Hendersonville Elementary sent Adam Keen, Josh’ea McFadden and Rasheed Fair.
Kaidyn Ballard-Frazier, John Harrison and Hunter Shande all came from Northside Elementary. Colleton County Middle School had the following students in the competition; Shaliah Grant, Dylan Ketchum, Trent Carlton, Lily Kilpatrick, Keane Hickman, Garry Goff and JaNiecea Noon.
The program began with a reading of the rules.
Celeste Stone, media specialist for Colleton County Middle School, had the daunting task of serving as the pronouncer for the competitors.
Mary Jo Fox, Jessica Williams and Patrick Thomas all served as judges for the competition. Kristie Long, reading coach for Cottageville Elementary, served as coordinator for this year’s district Spelling Bee.
“It was getting close to time to start and I realized we had some students that had not made it so I had to make the decision to put in some alternates. The students that were serving as alternates were not expecting to have to compete so it took a little coaxing on my part to get them on to the stage, but once the competition began everyone seemed to settle down and everything began to fall right into place,” said Long.
Long said the words used in the spelling bee were “very challenging,” leaving many in the room questioning their spelling ability. Some of the words on the list were obsidian, vicarage and duarchy. Long explained the words students are asked to spell comes from a list given to them by The Post and Courier, which is the sponsor for “The Scripps National Spelling Bee.”
As the words were called, students began missing them causing them to have to take a seat. Once it started getting down to the final few, Long realized one of the students who came to serve as an alternate for Northside Elementary was still standing. Hunter Shande, a fifth grader from Northside Elementary and son of Tracey Dursch, who admitted he was very nervous about being in the competition, endured the competition beating out all of the other students. “I felt good about winning and it was exciting. I am a little nervous about going to the next competition but I made it this far so I think I have a chance,” said Shande.
Coming in second place was Garry Goff (8th – CCMS); third place went to Lily Kilpatrick (7th CCMS); and the alternate will be Bindi Seigler (5th FHE).
Long will travel to Charleston Southern University with the group to compete in the regional spelling bee on March 7, 2019. They will be facing students from Berkeley Charleston, Dorchester 2, Dorchester 4, the Catholic Diocese and SCISA. If any Colleton Students advance they will then travel to Columbia for the State spelling bee and finally the National Spelling Bee in Maryland which will be held in late May and will be covered by ESPN.

Christie Slocum (538 Posts)