Morrison fifth-grader Caleb Smith showed the second time is the charm as he bested a field of 22 sapient contestants to win the annual Warren County Spelling Bee held Tuesday night at Warren County Middle School.
Competition was stiff in the finals as the final three spellers lasted 74 rounds exhausting the original list of 375 words to be used in the competition. Words included “iridology,” “peripatetic,” “jardiniere” and “halieutic.”
A new list was found and the field was narrowed to the final two spellers, Smith and Centertown eighth-grader Courtney Curtis. “Satiety” is the word which stumped Curtis.
Smith then had to spell two words correctly in order to win, finishing with “roustabout” to claim the title.
Smith said he studied some for the spelling bee, but not a lot. He said his older sister had won the school bee a couple of times and he thought he could, too.
Smith and all school winners will be able to compete in the News Sentinel Southern Appalachia Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 8, on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus.
Competitors in Knoxville will take a written test and must spell 30 words correctly before advancing to the final round on stage.
The regional winner will then advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Students placing in the top three in this year’s competition at the middle school also competed on-stage last year. Smith, Curtis and third-place finisher, Warren County Middle School seventh-grader Gracie Upchurch, all proved to be top spellers last year advancing to the stage for competition in 2013.
Arden Cummins, a sixth-grader at Morrison, and Trevor Wanamaker, a fouth-grader at Irving College also competed on stage.
The night started with grade-level spelling bees for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Each of those bees were held in separate classrooms at the school. Once the finalists were determined, the five advanced to the championship round in the WCMS auditorium.
All grade-level winners received trophies. Smith took home a grade-level trophy and a larger overall winner trophy. All trophies were provided by spelling bee sponsor Southern Standard.