Ashley Hunter, ECB Publishing, Inc.
During the evening of Thursday, Jan. 24, the students from Jefferson Somerset and Aucilla Christian Academy gathered at the First United Methodist Church in Monticello to compete against one another in the County-Wide Spelling Bee.
A total of 16 students from both schools gathered to spell out challenging vocabulary words and test their knowledge.
Beginning the bee, Aucilla Christian Academy Principal Richard Finlayson offered encouragement to the students, reminding them that a spelling bee is half 'luck of the draw'.
“Sometimes you will get a word you know, and sometimes you won't.” As the spelling bee began, and students took their turn at the microphone to spell out the word presented to them, from 'pronto' to 'hibiscus', the words spelled by students ranged from well-known to lesser known and the remaining contestants began to dwindle until all that was left was ACA fourth-grader Lexie Eades, ACA fifth-grader Caleb Walker, and ACA eighth grader Axel Day.
A tense back-and-forth competition took place between Walker and Day as the two continued to try and secure the first place title. Eventually, Day provided a perfect spelling of the word 'Courteous', presented to him by Spelling Bee Announcer Jennifer Falk, securing the title of First Place Jefferson County Spelling Bee Champion. Caleb Walker took the title as the second place winner, and Lexie Eades was announced as the bee's third place winner.
Each of the winners for presented with a trophy and monetary prize that was sponsored by The First bank (formerly Farmers and Merchants Bank).
Despite the fact that 13 of the talented young students did not place in the first, second or third title, their sportsmanship, spelling and studious attention to detail cannot be overlooked.
From Aucilla Christian Academy, the fourth-grade students who participated and attended the County-Wide Spelling Bee were Ashton Parks and Lexie Eades. The fifth grade students were Morgan McNeill, Caleb Walker and Gigi Mediate. The sixth grade students were Elliott Cheshire, Raegan Walker and Kyle Hamrick. Representing ACA from the seventh grade was Laney Kate Cruce. Axel Day was the only ACA student to participate from the eighth grade.
From Jefferson Somerset, the only fourth grader who took part in the County-Wide Spelling Bee was Marta Cato. Jefferson Somerset fifth-graders Patrick Parrish and Kaleb Macon attended the spelling bee and represented their school. Trinity Jaimes was the only Jefferson Somerset sixth grader to take part in the spelling bee. From the seventh grade, Jonathan Youngblood and Jamie Moore participated in the County-Wide Spelling Bee.
The judges for this spelling bee were John Stephens and Allen Vanerson.