Isabella’s Graham wins third county spelling bee

Published 2:35 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

Chilton County Spelling Bee champion Isaac Graham spells in front of judges during the competition Friday at Alabama Power Conference Center

Eight local students competed in a s-t-e-l-l-a-r competition on Friday morning as they fiercely battled it out for the title of Chilton County Spelling Bee champion.

After more than two hours of competing and 343 words spelled, Isabella High School seventh grader Isaac Graham took home the title with the correct spelling of “audience.”

This is not the first win for Graham who took home the title twice before and was runner-up in last year’s spelling bee.

“I just enjoy spelling,” Graham said. “I studied a lot leading up to the competition today and was pretty confident about most of the words I spelled.”

Graham said one tactic to avoid being nervous when he steps in front of the judges is to stare at the wall directly in front of him to avoid feeling like people are looking at him.

“It kind of helps my train of thought to focus on something and block out everyone around me,” Graham said. “That way, I can really pay attention to the word I am spelling at the time.”

Graham spelled “baccalaureate” to win the IHS spelling bee and will now advance to the Alabama Spelling Bee on March 9 at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham.

Graham said his favorite word to spell periodically is “astrophysicist” and the word that often causes him trouble is “empirical” because he sometimes forgets it doesn’t start with the letter “i” in the word.

Graham is the son of Glen and Leah Graham and the grandson of Donald Graham, Sally Davis and Betty Chadwick.

“We are just very proud of him,” Glen Graham said. “He is a wonderful kid who has been blessed with a good mind and we credit all of that to the Lord.”

Runner-up Jacylin Smith, who is a fifth grader at Jemison Middle School, said she studied her words leading up to the competition every day and enjoys spelling because it is “fun.”

This is the second year for Smith to compete in the county spelling bee after she won the JMS spelling bee with the word “elaborative.”

Smith said homonyms often cause her difficulty due to the fact many of the words can have the same pronunciation, the same spelling, but different meanings.

The students who competed in the county bee Friday were Cody Cater, Thorsby; Joe Champion, Maplesville; Alana Delariva, Verbena; Isaac Graham, Isabella; Sarah Hubbard, Jemison Elementary; Sarah Beth Huntley, Clanton Intermediate; Nicolas Johnson, Clanton Middle; and Jacylin Smith, Jemison Middle.

Judging the competition were Pat Daugherty, Myra Davis and Pat Clements.

JMS assistant principal David Seale pronounced the words and Aimee Eiland was the county bee coordinator.

Eiland told the audience this was the first time competitors completed the entire list of words requiring a second list to be brought in.

“This just shows you the level of competition going on with these students,” Eiland said. “They all should be commended for studying so much.”

The Alabama Spelling Bee is sponsored by Adventure Travel and sends the winner to the Scripps National Spelling bee in Washington, D.C., each year.