Jackson is Jemison’s first speller to compete in state bee

Published 4:11 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018


With both the Jemison Intermediate School and Chilton County spelling bee victories under his belt, sixth grader Dylan Jackson took to the Alabama Spelling Bee and out-spelled 48 competitors.

Dylan is the first Jemison student to advance to the state level.

“Nobody had ever made it that far, so you are a big deal!” JIS spelling bee officiate Kelcie Broadhead told Dylan. “And we were so surprised because you were the first one ever, and you did so well!”

He placed fifth out of 53 spellers, and his family and school could not be prouder.

“They were really proud,” Dylan said of his family. “I went home with my paw-paw that afternoon, and they took me out to eat. Everybody was making such a big deal out it!”

Principal D.J. Nix expressed enthusiasm as well.

“He represented our school and community well,” Nix said. “We are so proud of him!”

Although he faced more than 100 people from the stage, Dylan said he was not very nervous.

“I don’t really care,” he said.

His father and Broadhead were impressed with that.

Broadhead said merely attending the bee was nerve-wracking for her.

“I was probably more nervous than he was,” she said, explaining that at the start of spelling season she had been surprised with her charge as head over JIS spelling bees and was anxious to watch her students succeed.

“I was nervous for them, because I’m not a very avid speller,” she said.

Dylan said he did not expect to advance as far as he did, although finishing fifth at the state level was not what he had hoped to do.

“I was kind of disappointed,” he said. “But then when it was over, all of the other kids were older than me, so I kind of felt proud.”

The troublesome word was “metronome,” Dylan said.

Before advancing to state, Dylan out-spelled 99 fellow JIS contestants in the school’s first round and then 19 contestants for the final round, finally moving up to out-spell seven Chilton County contestants.

There were 11 rounds for the state spelling bee.

“There was vocabulary rounds in there, too,” Broadhead said. “I didn’t know that we had to have vocabulary rounds.”

For the vocabulary rounds, the contestants were given a definition and provided two word options to select the correct word from, Broadhead said.

She said the vocabulary words were not difficult.

Considering next year, Dylan said he would like to compete again if the middle school holds a spelling bee.