Springdale Elementary student wins Bibb spelling contest
John Lee teaches physics at Mercer University, but he says his son, a fifth-grader, has him beat as a speller.
He might not be exaggerating.
Christian Lee, who attends Springdale Elementary School, is probably going somewhere in life. Last year he won the school systems fourth-grade mathematics competition, and Saturday he won the Bibb County Spelling Bee. He will compete in the regional spelling bee at for a chance to go on to the state spelling bee.
Of course, John Lee said when asked if his son was the best speller in the family. I have to go to the dictionary when we practice.
He bested 30 other students. Each elementary and middle school in the county has a bee and sends the winner to the county competition. The bee began with a couple of practice rounds, and words like can and flag. But when it started for real, the first word, which incidentally went to Christian, was bric-a-brac. He spelled it correctly, even stating the hyphens.
Other words that followed included famished, schism and moustache.
One misspelled word meant the student was out of the competition, and the field thinned out quickly in the first two rounds.
After a few more rounds, it came down to Christian and Keshon Hopkins, a Weaver Middle School student. At that point the rules changed. If one spelled a word wrong, the other would then have to spell the same word. If the second speller missed it, the competition would go on as before. But if the second speller got it right, he would then get a new word and if he spelled that correctly, he would be the winner.
Keshon misspelled glitz, then Christian got it right. He then spelled massage for the win and a $200 prize. Keshon got $100, and will also go to the regional bee to be held at Fort Valley State University on March 1.
Aman Boricha-Masand, an Alexander II Elementary School student, was the last speller eliminated before the final, and therefore took home the third place trophy and a $75 prize.
Willett Waller, president of the Bibb County Association of Educators, gave the welcome at the competition. She said spelling is still important, even in an era when computers can check spelling.
Not all writing is done on a computer, she said. We have to write sometimes without a computer, so being an accurate speller is an important part of an individuals overall educational experience.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.