Hempstead County Spelling Bee Participants All Winners

By Staff, 01/28/17 3:07 PM

HOPE – Three in a row for Mika Brown! Brown, the diminutive seventh grader who in her last two years has won the Hempstead County Spelling Bee, made it a trifecta this year from a field of 47 students in grades 4-8 from Hope, Blevins, Spring Hill and Garrett Memorial Christian Schools.

Brown represented Hope Academy of Public Service  this year, winning the right to represent Hempstead County at the Arkansas Spelling Bee in Conway in March. She won in a five-round set among the champions at each grade level that left Brown and first runner up Alyssa Bonner, of Blevins, head to head for three rounds. Bonner fell last year in the first championship round to take third place against Brown and Garrett eighth grader Anna Kate Childress.

Brown carefully made her way through the competition, using a visual technique in which she spelled each word that have her difficulty on her left hand with her finger before spelling it out loud. She said the tool allows her to visualize the word and determine whether it looks correct. Brown also requested the “language of origin” tool for difficult words to differentiate subtieties in spelling that stemmed from pronunciation.

The longest competition of the morning was in the fifth grade eliminations as Antoine Walker from HAPS and Levin McGuire from Spring Hill battled to a 10-round tie. Both advanced to the championship round where they finished the day in a tie for fourth runner-up.

Grade level winners included Maci Clark (Garrett) fourth grade; Walker (HAPS) and McGuire (Spring Hill) fifth-grade tie; Alyssa Bonner (Blevins), sixth-grade; Brown (HAPS) seventh grade and Allison Bonner (Blevins) eighth grade.

The State competition has been sponsored annually by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in conjunction with the Scripps Mational Spelling Bee, sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company. The Little Rock newspaper has sponsored the state contest since 1992.

The contest is limited to students under age 16 who have not advanced beyond the eighth grade. The contest was conducted at the Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative building on the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana main campus, moving from its traditional site at Yerger Middle School upon the retirement of Janice Russell on 2015 after 22 years as contest coordinator. SWAEC K-12 Literacy Specialist Kelly Cornelius was contest coordinator this year. Judges included Kathryn Dickinson, Jimmy Courtney and Dana Ray.

Contestants this year included;

Blevins – Zachery Laughard and Hector Moreno, fourth grade; Lily Allen and Bayleigh Laughard, fifth grade; Alyssa Bonner and Jaycie Simms, sixth grade; Jeremiah Muresan and Dakota Benight, seventh grade; and Allison Bonner and Isabella Jones, eighth grade.

Garrett Memorial – Maci Clark and Sara Miller, fourth grade; Mikayla Fields and Bailey Haynes, fifth grade; Sophy Tyson and Hayden Quillin, sixth grade; Kennedy Hamilton and Max Garcia, seventh grade; and Grayson Chambliss and Anna Beth Martin, eighth grade.

Hope – Braiden Lowe and Cherish Thomas, fourth grade; Kaden Brown and Maurice Hickman, fifth grade; Armand Bowling and T’Khyah Walker, sixth grade; Kaden Henderson and D’Angelo Palmer, seventh grade; and Dabria Manton, eighth grade.

Hope Academy of Public Service – Antoine Walker and Katie Arroyo, fifth grade; Allen Thomason and Saniyah Walker, sixth grade; Mika Brown and Richard Ware, seventh grade; and Nataly Ramirez and Darton Davis, eighth grade.

Spring Hill – Scarlet Clark and Clay Yocum, fourth grade; Levin McGuire and Austin Stone, fifth grade; Brooke Tullis and Emily Link, sixth grade; Emily Curtis and Mark Helms, seventh grade; and Haylie Rhodes and Sarah Helmick, eighth grade.


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