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Verbena holds spelling bees

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Two students will be representing Verbena High School in the Chilton County Spelling Bee this year.

Sixth grade student Tristan Wilhite and fifth grade student Gaven Faust won their age groups during the school-level contest on Dec. 5.

The spelling bee was divided into third through fifth grades and sixth and eighth grades.

Gaven won by correctly spelling special after 10 rounds of competition. He said he was confident going into the event that he would do well.

This was Gaven’s first year participating in the Verbena spelling bee. He said he wanted to participate “to win a trophy.”

Third grade student Jilliyan Crichton, who was the runner up, said she had thought she would do “horrible” in the contest.

“I just did my best because I knew how to spell the words,” Jilliyan said.

During the younger grades competition, some of the words that gave students trouble included filters, broth, petal, benches and deny.

Tristan won by correctly spelling manger.

“Last year, I got, I think, fourth place, so I studied even harder this year, trying to get first place,” Tristan said.

He said he studied by writing potential words down and by having his grandmother call them out to him.

“It was great competing against classmates,” Tristan said.

Runner up Shannon Hargrove said she thought she would do well because “I studied really hard.”

“It’s my eighth-grade year, the last year I can do it, and I just wanted to do something extra,” Shannon said.

Some words that had proved challenging to students included vividly, holler and siblings.

Students had been given a list of possible words to study for the spelling bee.

In each round, students were allowed a practice round starting off to ensure that the judges could hear them.

Students said the word, spelled it and then said the word again, so the judges could be sure that the student was finished.

Once there were only two left, a student had to correctly spell two words in a row to win.

Nicole Hoffman, organizer of the countywide bee, said each of the kindergarten through 12th grade will have two this year.

“We have decided to make it a little fairer throughout the county,” Hoffman said.

In some previous years, the younger students at K-12 schools would have competed against older students, while those in the intermediate schools only had to compete against two other grades.

Winners will compete for the county title on Jan. 31 at the LeCroy Career Technical Center.