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Competition was tight Friday morning between elementary and middle school spelling champs from schools throughout the county. Eleven children competed in the Levy County District Spelling Bee, held at Bronson High School, but only one came away with the top prize and a chance to compete in Tallahassee’s Big Bend Regional Spelling Bee in February.
Cedar Key 4th grader Amanda Robinson was this year’s district champ after 12 rounds, going toe to toe the last five with Chiefland Elementary School 4th grader Kaiden Baker. Amanda won the final round with her correct spelling of the word "compromise," then cinched the deal by correctly spelling "inflammable."
“It was unexpected,” said 10-year-old Amanda after the competition about her win. This year was her first time competing in spelling bees, she said, adding that she was a bit nervous before Friday’s event. Amanda had been eliminated earlier in the competition Friday morning but was brought back, along with several other competitors, when the winners of the earlier rounds misspelled words that could have won them the title.
Robinson said it was her parents’ idea to compete this year, though they made it clear that she should “do it for fun and have a good time.” She said she woke up early every morning before school to practice, he parents helping her by calling out words.
County Schools Superintendent Bob Hastings addressed the students before the competition began that morning, admitting his envy of them and their ability to spell.
“I think this is just a wonderful event, …” he told the students. “ I praise you so much, and I’m glad to make your acquaintances because you are the future of this country.”
After the event, Hastings presented each competitor with a trophy and a certificate.
In February, if Amanda does well in the regional competition, she’ll earn a chance to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.