As the gym/auditorium filled with excited students, the two judges, Becky Medlin of Century 21, Mike Dorman of Military Missions in Action and pronouncer Melodie Elaine Estes of Creative Lens Art By Melodie were greeted by Ballentine Elementary Principal Kim Short and Jill Arnold. Once the students were seated on the gym floor, Short introduced the judges and pronouncer.
Before the students, teachers and proud parents looking on, winners from each classroom competition were recognized with a certificate of recognition. The winning students from first through third grade don’t compete in the formal bee. The first grade winners were Jackson Massengill, Abigal Daw, AJ Clark, Tripp Buddin, Dominick Roberts. Second Grade winners were Elise Alford, Matthew Keller, Isabelle Mawyer, Emma Martin and Olivia Nash. Third grade winners were Sara Moses and Caroline Edmondson.
The contestants for the main spelling bee are from the fourth and fifth grades. The fourth graders were represented by Lleyton Buscher, Evan Rogers, Ellis Arnold, Lily Zahn and Katalina Street. The fifth graders were represented by Sophia Margalotti, Khalid Mangum, William Clemente, Gray Lumsden and Lindsey Ware.
The guidelines for the competition were reviewed with the students. Each student had their own cheering section with signs visible when they were spelling. The winner was William Clemente, who kept a confident and poised manner during the spelling of each word. The first runner up was Katalina Street and the second runner up was Lindsey Ware. Each of the other contestants received their classroom recognition certificates.
From this spelling bee the winner will go on to the County Spelling Bee on Feb. 23 at N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center. The preliminary rounds will begin at 8:30 a.m. The finalists will then compete at 1:30 p.m.